UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees


The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. 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. It strives to ensure 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. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.

In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives.



Working for UNHCR

UNHCR's staff are the backbone of the organization and about 89 percent of them are based in the field. UNHCR staff provides live-saving aid and protection every day for millions of uprooted and stateless people around the world. This is something that UNHCR staff takes great pride of, despite the many hardships they face while working in deep field operations, at times close to or within conflict areas. Their greatest reward is to know that their work has a major positive impact and brings hope to people uprooted by conflict and persecution.

At the beginning of 2015, there were over 9,300 members of staff, including a combined total of 1,050 in UNHCR's Geneva headquarters and the Global Service Centre in Budapest. The numbers break down into 6,854 national staff and 2,476 international staff.

UNHCR work in 125 countries, with staff based in a mixture of 109 regional and branch offices, and 341 sub and field offices. Their staff work in a wide range of disciplines, including protection (legal), administration, community services, public affairs, logistics, health and gender. The largest concentration of field staff is in Kenya (477), followed by Jordan (445), Ethiopia (413), Iraq (373) and South Sudan (364).

UNHCR language requirements

As a highly mobile Organization operating in more than 100 countries, UNHCR is deeply committed to the principle of multilingualism and requires its international professional staff, upon recruitment, to demonstrate competence in at least two official UN languages. Therefore, candidates aspiring to join the international professional category must be able to demonstrate, at a minimum, proficiency at an advanced level (C1 or above) in either one of the two working languages of UNHCR (English and French) as well as knowledge of a second official UN language at an intermediate level (B2 or above).

A certificate is not required in respect of a UN language that is the mother tongue of the candidate. Otherwise, certification is obligatory.

UNHCR recommends that you carefully review the language requirements of the Job Opening you wish to apply for and note that excellent knowledge of a language requires proficiency at an advanced level (C1 or above) whereas for working knowledge proficiency needs to be demonstrated at an intermediate level (B2 or above).

Find the list of certificates recognized by UNHCR to prove language proficiency at C1 and B2 levels here.


You will find all UNHCR positions at Impactpool, update your Impactpool profile to stay alerted when UNHCR jobs are posted. Find information how to apply in the job advertisements. When sending your application, please indicate you find the opportunity at Impactpool.org.