United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees

Outline of the organisation

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on 14 December 1950 by the UN General Assembly. It is headquartered in Geneva. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. The UNHCR describes its role as ensuring that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. In more than five decades the agency has helped an estimated 50 million people restart their lives.

Positions available

(1) Internship Program

The role of the intern at UNHCR will depend on the requirements of the unit/office, the intern’s qualifications and interests. Most interns work on a project which will benefit both them and UNHCR, in fields such as refugee protection (legal), international relations, administration, field work, etc. The UNHCR believes that for internships to be worthwhile and effective, they will normally last no less than two months and no more than six months.

Further information is available here.

(2) International Professional Roster (IPR)

The UNHCR recruits for entry-level positions through the IPR. In order to be eligible for inclusion on the Roster candidates must:

  • be prepared to serve on posts in field locations, especially in hardship and/or non-family duty stations;
  • possess a university degree (ie BA/BSc, LLB) or an advanced university degree (ie LLM, MA, MBA, MSc, PhD) preferably in International Relations, International Public or Private Law, Finance, Accounting, Public Administration, Social Work, Communications, Journalism, Political Science or Social Sciences, Economics, Engineering, Management, Supply Chain, Transport and Logistics;
  • have a minimum number of years of relevant professional work experience;
  • have a demonstrated working knowledge of English and are encouraged to have knowledge of a second UN language; and
  • applicants to the Roster, if selected for a post, must be prepared to take up their assignments within 3 months.

Further information is available here.