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  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Monterrey
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Managerial positions
    • Protection Officer (Refugee)
  • Closing Date: 2019-02-28

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Head of Field Office

Monterrey (Colombia)

Before submitting an application, UNHCR staff members intending to apply to this Job Opening are requested to consult the Recruitment and Assignments Policy (RAP, UNHCR/HCP/2017/2 and the Recruitment and Assignments Administrative Instruction (RAAI), UNHCR/AI/2017/7 OF 15 August 2017.

Head of Field Office


Head of a UNHCR Field Office (HoFO) is a senior managerial position within a given country operation. The incumbent carries the full delegated authority of the UNHCR Representative (or the country Manager or Head of Sub-Office) of the country, who will exercise entire supervisory managerial responsibility over the position. The position, on the other hand, provides all information on developments in relation to the protection (legal protection issues relating to the persons of concern to UNHCR), security (Physical security in relation to the UNCR staff and the persons of concern to UNHCR) and operational matters (programme and office management / administration) within the domain of its geographical area of responsibility to the UNHCR Representative (or the country manager) on a regular and timely manner. Subject to the specific legal or socio economic or security developments in the Area of Responsibility (AOR), Representative will direct and guide the Head of Field Office to take the most appropriate course of action. Concerning overall physical security concerns, HoFO will liaise directly with the competent UN security coordinator while keeping the UNHCR Representative fully informed.

While the functional responsibility of a Head of Field Office will always remain the same despite its grade level, the other parameters (therefore the depth and breadth of the competencies) such as the size of the population of concern to UNHCR, their specific legal/security concerns, volume of assistance, Number of operational / Implementing partners and the size of the Office (i.e. number of UNHCR staff and their grade levels) will determine the appropriate grade level. The operational autonomy also depends upon the same parameters/competencies.

As the most senior UNHCR staff member within the given geographical area, he/she is required to liaise with all the relevant senior government officials, security organs in the area, the Head of various Non-Governmental Organisations (both national and internationals based in the area), Civilian/tribal leaders/elders, local opinion makers and the local media net-work to ensure his/her assigned responsibilities are effectively and efficiently discharged.

As the extended field representative of UNHCR at the front line of High Commissioner's operations, he/she remain as the effective advocate and assistant to the local authorities to ensure that the respective government authorities in the area implement their conventional responsibilities in favour of refugees and others of concern to UNHCR.



- The Convention concerning the treatment of asylum seekers, IDPs, refugees, returnees and the stateless, where applicable, is disseminated to the local authorities.
- UNHCR policies and standards are applied consistently in the AOR to ensure quality protection of populations of concern.
- A healthy, safe and respectful working environment is provided to the workforce in the AOR.

- Monitor and report on the implementation of refugee conventional responsibilities and international obligations of the local authorities Vis a Vis the population of concern to UNHCR within the given geographical area; based on local situations/developments make appropriate recommendation to the UNHCR Representative/HoSO.
- Advocate and promote UNHCR  standards concerning the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees and returnees as well as IDPs, where applicable; Advocate, promote and encourage the concerned authorities and local opinion makers to uphold established UNHCR standards that have become the international norms.
- Ensure that the basic needs of the concerned population are properly assessed with the participation of the beneficiaries themselves, the host governments and/or the competent Implementing partners and/or UNHCR itself.
- Subject to the needs, ensure that the planning, formulation and budgeting of identified assistance projects are done as per UNHCR programme cycle; upon approval of assistance project, ensure the timely implementation and rigorous monitoring  of identified assistance activities
- Ensure through the subordinate staff that all deadlines for monitoring and reporting of UNHCR operational activities (i.e. include assistance as well as Administrative) are met on a regular basis.
- Manage all UNHCR resources, both human, financial/material, at an optimum level for the wellbeing of the concerned population and the UNHCR staff.
- Ensure that all security measures of UNHCR office (and residential, where ever applicable) compounds are always up to date; any security breaches and/or potential security threat should be reported immediately to competent UN security coordinator in the country.
- Ensure that staff welfare, both in terms of working and living conditions, are maintained at a satisfactory level within the constraints in the operational area; this requires remaining current in health and medical facilities locally available and evacuation options available in a moment of medical urgency.
- Guide, coach and advocate the subordinate staff to maintain highest standards of conduct and behaviour thorough one¿s own practice and deeds.
- Prepare and submit regular reports, both verbally and written, to the UNHCR Representative/HoSO. In the event of substantial telephone conversation that leads to specific action or non-action, it should be recorded and share with the other party.
- Any other responsibilities/functions deemed necessary or as delegated by the UNHCR Representative of the country in order to meet the level of the services in the organization.


- Represent UNHCR in inter-agency fora and with local authorities in the AOR.
- Enforce compliance with UNHCR's global protection, programme, finance, human resources and security policies and standards.
- Submit project proposals for assistance to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR Representation or Sub-Office in coordination with local authorities and NGOs.

- Graduate degree (equivalent of a Master's) in Management/Personnel Administration or Law or Political Science or International Relation or Economics or a related field plus minimum 8 years of previous work experience relevant to the function. Undergraduate degree (equivalent of a BA/BS) plus 9 years or Doctorate degree (equivalent of a PhD) plus 7 years of previous relevant work experience may also be accepted.
- In-depth knowledge in all aspects of UNHCR mandate and its Field level application.
- Applied knowledge of protection principles, operational arrangements/standards in relation to protection, assistance, UNHCR office management and staff administration.
- Should be conversant in the current priorities in the organisation and existing mechanisms within the organisation to implement those priorities.
- Basic computer skills and working knowledge in MS office software.
- Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.

- Working experience both in UNHCR HQ and/or a Regional Office and the Field
- UNHCR Specific learning/training activities ( i.e. Learning Programme in Management & Operations)
- Knowledge of additional UN languages.

This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR Head of Field Office (P4) positions. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates. C001L3 - Accountability Level 3
C002L3 - Teamwork & Collaboration Level 3
C003L3 - Communication Level 3
C004L3 - Commitment to Continuous Learning Level 3
C005L3 - Client & Result Orientation Level 3
C006L3 - Organizational Awareness Level 3
M001L3 - Empowering and Building Trust Level 3
M002L3 - Managing Performance Level 3
M006L3 - Managing Resources Level 3
M005L3 - Leadership Level 3
M003L3 - Judgement and Decision Making Level 3
M004L3 - Strategic Planning and Vision Level 3
X005L3 - Planning and Organizing Level 3
X001L3 - Analytical Thinking Level 3
X007L3 - Political Awareness Level 3 <p>The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.</p>
See below for this postion's Operational Context

For those people applying for High Risk Duty Stations, we strongly encourage them – before deciding to apply- to read the country specific security and welfare country profiles which can be found on the Intranet under Support Services - Duty of Care ( Ensuring staff are better informed is part of the increased attention UNHCR is paying to Duty of Care.


Staff after having applied to High Risk Duty Stations will have access to country specific information webinars with Field Safety Section (FSS) and Staff Welfare Section (SWS) colleagues and provided with a tool to test their psychological preparedness for serving in High Risk Duty Stations. Applicants who applied for a position in a High Risk country will receive, after the deadline for applications has expired, a joint invitation from the Staff Welfare Section (SWS) and the Field Safety Section (FSS) to participate in these webinars. During the Webinars, latest updates on security and well-being will be provided, and FSS and SWS will address questions raised by participants. Applicants are highly encouraged to benefit, when applicable, from all measures as they provide most up-to-date security and well-being information helpful to assess staff’s readiness to serve in a High Risk Duty Station. A Staff Welfare Officer will also be available, if and when required, to discuss with interested applicants the results of the psychological preparedness tool as well as readiness for assignment in High Risk Duty Stations.


¿ Experience in implementing field protection at the point of delivery, protection monitoring and in situations of mixed migratory movements and management of protection-sensitive borders.
¿ Training and capacity building of civil society and government partners.
¿ Experience serving as Head of Sub-Office (Protection & Field).
¿ Ability to effectively manage a medium-size team and coordinate with other Offices.
¿ Sensitive political context requires ability to work collaboratively with government counterparts.
¿ Consensus teambuilding and cultural sensitivity needed as the team is diverse.
¿ On-the-job coaching and mentoring of national staff.
¿ Experience in multi-agency co-ordination and dealing with the public.
¿ Ability to come up with innovative and creative solutions to operational challenges.
¿ Frequent mission travel is required to field locations under the AoR.
¿ Full fluency in Spanish and English is essential.
¿ Previous experience in the region and/or in situations involving mixed migration flows is highly desirable. UNHCR estimates that violence against PoC is underreported, and generally goes unpunished. An increasing number of PoC have required relocation due to security risks in the southern states, especially transgender women. Comprehensive protection services to PoC such as legal assistance, referrals in a dignified and confidential manner, prevention and response to SGBV, child protection, and psychosocial support, medical and psychiatric services are lacking in many locations. Although UNHCR has funded positions to provide legal and psychosocial support and is working closely with partners such as DIF, COMAR and UNICEF, this does not cover the overall needs. Mexico offers a favorable legal framework for the inclusion of refugees in public services and their local integration, both in socio-economic and legal terms. Refugees are issued a permanent residence card and a social security number and a population registration number (CURP), which permits access to public services. Refugees have access to the national education and health system and enjoy the right to work. Applications for naturalization can be made by people from Latin America after two years of permanent residence. The procedure takes six months, is affordable and has simplified criteria applicable to refugees. A dynamic economy in central and northern states such as Coahuila, Jalisco, and Baja California complements this favorable legal framework. Chambers of commerce report thousands of vacancies in these States and are willing to cooperate with UNHCR and with partners in order to organize the relocation of refugees and facilitate job placement. While the legal framework and current economic conditions create the potential for successful local integration, careful planning, coordination and case support is essential. As a result, UNHCR is reinforcing efforts for local integration, offering vocational training and job placement programs in cooperation with the private sector. In this context Government and civil society require continuous support and information on the right to seek asylum and on refugee status determination procedures.  In particular, AGD-oriented procedures and protection responses are required both in civil society-administered shelters and migration detention facilities, with particular focus on risks affecting LGBTI groups and unaccompanied children. There has also been an increase in the number of LGBTI with international protection needs, which the office estimates will continue as push factors will remain in place.

There is intensive and permanent dialogue with governmental officials in charge of migration, migration detention, child protection, and refugee registration, documentation and status determination as well with State level authorities. Further dialogue is required with State security officials (federal and local police & the military). MONTERREY is the capital of the northeastern state of Nuevo León, a border state to the United States. Monterrey is an important industrial and commercial center, and the base of many international corporations.  It is one of the wealthiest cities in Mexico. Being this way, it has a high-level infrastructure:
Health ¿ Monterrey has a highly ranked medical infrastructure with some internationally acclaimed hospitals.
Education ¿ There are private schools. All private schools are bilingual (English-Spanish), and there are American, British and French schools.
Housing ¿ Apartments can be rented both furnished and unfurnished.
Entertainment ¿ Monterrey is the third most populous metropolitan area in Mexico. Therefore, it has a high demand and a high offer of entertainment: popular, classical, modern, etc.
Weather ¿ Monterrey frequently experiences extreme weather changes. It can be very hot during summer and cold during winter. The coldest months are January and February, and the hottest, April and May, although it is not always like that. Monterrey, too, is affected by the climate change.
For the rest of the information, Monterrey is a Mexican city and has the same status as the rest of the country:
Currency and exchange ¿ Mexican Peso. Dollars, Euros and traveler¿s checks can be exchanged at a currency Exchange office.
Communications ¿ Internet is available almost everywhere, but in houses and offices, a contract has to be made in order to access to this service.
Transportation ¿ There are public buses, and if taxis are to be taken, it is recommended to call an Uber. Monterrey belongs to Security Risk Management area 10, North West with the current General Threat Level 3, Moderate. There are no known direct threats to UNHCR, yet the UNHCR personnel may be affected by crime, to include: homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, highway robbery. Violent crime (kidnappings, extortions, homicides, sexual assaults, personal robberies, residential break-ins) and non-violent crimes (financial scams, vehicle thefts, petty drug crimes) continue to be a serious concern. Organized criminal elements (Cartels) contribute to the high level of criminal violence in the state. The UNHCR personnel must remain security aware at all times, apply personal security measures and avoid movement after darkness. There is no curfew in Monterrey, yet the incidence at night hours is high.  While on road missions, exercise caution and always obtain Security Clearance through UNDSS COSNU, road travel at night is restricted. Large-scale public demonstrations or strikes are uncommon in Monterrey, but occasional, nationally-organized protests do happen. UNHCR personnel should avoid areas of civil unrest.

Please note that the closing date for vacancies in the Addendum 4 is Thursday 28 February 2019 (midnight Geneva time)

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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