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Director, Asylum Policy

New York City

  • Organization: IRC - International Rescue Committee
  • Location: New York City
  • Grade: Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Political Affairs
    • Legal - Broad
    • Migration
    • Refugee rights and well-being
    • Protection Officer (Refugee)
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date:

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933, the IRC works in over 40 countries. The IRC’s Resettlement, Asylum and Integration department (RAI) operates 30+ offices across the United States and Europe. RAI serves clients and communities through a diverse portfolio of programs aimed at five core outcomes: Health, Safety, Economic Wellbeing, Education and Power.


Job Overview: 

The Director, Asylum Policy is an expert in international protection who brings vision, creativity, outstanding communication skills, and a deep commitment to the rights and dignity of asylum seekers to develop policy solutions based on the lived experiences of our clients. As refugee protection is under threat in the US, Europe, and elsewhere in the world, the IRC aims to flex our operational capacities and expertise to inform and develop impactful and achievable solutions where public policy has left protection gaps. Conversely, we recognize that programs for asylum seekers are often a response to the challenging policy environment our clients find themselves in, and therefore feel it is essential to embed a policy focus within a team that develops programs for asylum seekers—the Asylum & Immigration Legal Services Unit. The Director will draw directly from on-the-ground realities in the US and Europe and collaborate with the Policy & Advocacy team on strategies to advance actionable solutions. The Director will collaborate with a broad range of colleagues across the organization, including the Policy & Advocacy Unit, Communications, and IRC’s Latin America region. It is expected the Director will split their time across US (approx. 50%), European (approx. 25%) and Latin American or global (approx. 25%) policy issues. The Director will embody respect, collaboration, diversity, inclusiveness, anti-racism, and equity, both internally and externally.


Key Responsibilities:


Strategy and Policy Positions

  • Lead the development of actionable public policy on international protection from a programs-driven, client-centered perspective, working in close coordination with Policy & Advocacy colleagues in DC and Brussels and facilitating a unified voice on asylum and protection issues that intersect with IRC’s operations in the US and Europe
  • Develop policy positions and reports, working with RAI program teams, Comms, and P&A, including collaborating on using positions and reports to advocate in government fora
  • Collaborate with a range of internal program and policy leads to develop positions related to the climate crisis as it intersects with migration and access to international protection
  •  Advise IRC leadership on trends in international protection in the US and Europe, and as needed and feasible, in Latin America and other regions
  • Elevate IRC’s positions in global fora, such as the Global Compact for Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, as it relates to issues on asylum and international protection that intersect with IRC’s programs-driven policy positions


Policy Analysis and Strategic Initiatives

  • Conduct legislative and regulatory analysis in coordination with AILS and P&A, and participate in decision-making processes such as drafting public comments to proposed regulations on asylum and the border and calls to action in support/ opposition to proposed legislation
  • Contribute to or lead efforts related to high-level strategic initiatives on asylum and migration, or “systems issues,” including for example efforts to build a case management system in the US for asylum seekers
  • Serve as a focal point for strategic initiatives around access to territory in collaboration with program colleagues focused on cross-border efforts


Internal Coordination and External Relations

  • Coordinate engagement across a wide range of local, regional, US national, and binational or international coalitions related to asylum to map external stakeholder engagement and inform strategy
  • Serve as a focal point with the Communications and Marketing teams to develop content on asylum and protection; regularly review proactive and reactive content to ensure accuracy
  • Provide inputs on program proposals from an asylum policy perspective
  • Identify and pursue financial resources towards the achievement of asylum policy & advocacy objectives
  •  Support business development efforts, including technical review of proposals, proposal writing, and liaising with donors



  • A bachelor’s or an advanced degree (preferred) in law, migration studies, international development, or other related field; or equivalent/ lived experience
  •  At least 7 years of relevant experience in international protection policy, research, and services, with demonstrated expertise in key policies impacting individuals seeking asylum
  • Expert knowledge of US asylum law and procedures, including at the border and within the broader immigration and asylum systems; understanding of asylum systems in Europe and/or other regions highly preferred
  • Strong understanding of global international protection mechanisms and global challenges with respect to mixed migration, including the climate crisis
  • Experience working with marginalized or impacted communities, grassroots organizations, INGOs, and UN agencies
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills and an ability to work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders from diverse personal and professional backgrounds
  •  Experience in proposal development preferred
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Written and verbal English fluency; fluency in a language commonly spoken by asylum seekers such as Arabic, Dari, French Pashto, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Ukrainian, etc, would be an asset
  • Enjoy working with a small team in a flexible and fast-paced environment, as well as being an independent self-starter able to work with a high degree of autonomy
  • Strong computer literacy, research, and analysis skills
  • Ability to travel, primarily within the US, with some international travel (10% travel)


Key Working Relationships

Position Reports to:  Role is managed in partnership by Director, Asylum & Immigration Legal Services and Senior Director, Refugee & Asylum Policy & Advocacy

Position Directly Supervises: may supervise technical advisors and/or coordinators

Other Internal/External Contacts:

 Internal: RAI US and Europe teams and leadership, LatAm regional leadership and Deputy Director, Cross Border Asylum & Migration (Mexico), Policy & Advocacy, Communications.

External: Serve as IRC program representative in outside regional meetings and global meetings and academic forums with donors, non-governmental organizations, foundations, and inter-agency groups


COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement: In accordance with IRC’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards and our commitment to safeguard the health of our employees, clients, and communities, IRC requires candidates who are selected for interview to furnish proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to be considered for this position.  


Commitment to Diversity and Inclusivity: IRC is committed to building a diverse organization and a climate of inclusivity. We strongly encourage applications from candidates who can demonstrate that they can contribute to this goal.  


Equal Opportunity Employer: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.


US Benefits: We offer a comprehensive and highly competitive set of benefits.  In the US, these include: 10 sick days, 10 US holidays, 20-25 paid time off days (depending on role and tenure), medical insurance starting at $145 per month, dental starting at $7 per month, and vision starting at $5 per month, FSA for healthcare, childcare, and commuter costs, a 403b retirement savings plans with up to 4.5% immediately vested matching contribution, plus a 3-7% base IRC contribution (3 year vesting), disability & life insurance, and an Employee Assistance Program which is available to our staff and their families to support counseling and care in times of crisis and mental health struggles. 





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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
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