Asylum Access is hiring a
Innovative Human Rights NGO Seeks Volunteer Legal Advocates (VLAs)
About Asylum Access
We are human rights advocates who support forcibly displaced individuals and communities as they reclaim their rights, agency and power.
Our unique combination of legal empowerment, policy advocacy and global systems change creates conditions in which refugees can live safely, move freely, work legally and go to school. Our work transforms the traditional approach of endless humanitarian handouts to a sustainable solution that honors refugees’ freedom, dignity and autonomy, and empowers them to make choices about their own lives.
Asylum Access’ global team and family of local civil society organizations advocate to make human rights a reality for refugees throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. Our national organizations are led and staffed primarily by community members in those countries, and there is strong mutual trust and respect between us and our clients. On the international stage, we work with established institutions to shift the global system to better uphold and promote refugees’ human rights. We can help catalyze and lead systemic transformation because, uniquely among NGOs in the refugee response sector, we focus exclusively on rights and governance.
The Legal Team primarily provides legal services to refugees, ensuring that they have access to justice, get necessary support during the refugee status determination (RSD) process and have information on Long Term Legal Solutions (LTLS). The Legal Team is overseen by the Protection Program Coordinator and includes the RSD and Protection Team Leads, RSD and Protection Officers, RSD and Protection VLAs, Screening and Intake Officers, Interpreter and Paralegal Coordinator, Interpreters and Paralegals.
Volunteer Legal Advocates (VLAs) provide legal advice and support to refugees seeking asylum or the assertion of other legal rights. VLAs are largely responsible for their own casework, which they see through preparation, submission and results. The position is therefore well-suited to individuals with the ability to take initiative and ownership of cases and projects, proactively follow up, manage multiple deadlines, and work effectively with a high attention to detail. VLAs gain practical experience in legal representation, client interaction, legal research, legal drafting and more. VLAs also have the opportunity to represent AAT clients at UNHCR Thailand. VLAs receive guidance and mentorship from AAT staff.
After working with AAT, VLAs join a network of refugee legal advocates around the world, which provides access to job and research opportunities, information exchange and professional support.
The expected time commitment is six months to one year.
The place of work is Bangkok, Thailand.
Duties may include but are not limited to:
Conducting client intake and screening interviews, assessing needs, and referring to other service providers as required;
Advising clients on issues relating to Refugee Status Determination (RSD) before UNHCR, the National Screening Mechanism (NSM) before the Royal Thai Government (RTG), Protection concerns in Thailand and complementary pathways to other countries;
Drafting legal briefs and statements for clients’ cases;
Maintaining a high caseload in a fast paced, demanding environment while adhering to strict filing deadlines;
Conducting research on “country of origin” conditions and refugee law jurisprudence;
Developing materials for and conducting group workshops and legal information clinics;
Working with community interpreters and paralegals;
Representing AAT at events, conferences and meetings, and/or assisting in other public affairs efforts; and
Assisting in general administrative duties at the office.
Reports to: RSD Legal Officer and Protection Officer
The following are the minimal requirements for effectively working in this position:
Prior knowledge of/experience in the following areas is not essential but would be valuable:
Please submit a cover letter and resume through AAT’s BambooHR application portal. In your cover letter, please describe your reasons for applying, relevant qualifications, and how volunteering with AAT fits with your career plans. Please also state the dates you can be available.
All VLA positions are unpaid. However, AAT provides a small stipend to cover transportation and lunch. AAT is happy to work with successful applicants to arrange for funding or school credit where available. VLAs are responsible for expenses incurred relating to obtaining their visa. AAT is responsible for government and legal service fees in obtaining the work permit only. Details and orientation on required documents and procedure will be shared with successful candidates.
Asylum Access is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value the expertise of those who have experienced displacement, and encourage people with such lived experience to apply.
For more information about our organization, visit www.asylumaccess.org_._