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Volunteer Legal Advocates (VLAs)

Volunteer Legal Advocates needed for Asylum Access Thailand


Asylum Access is an innovative non-profit founded to make refugee rights a reality for refugees. Asylum Access envisions a world in which refugees live safely, move freely, attend school, work and rebuild their lives. Asylum Access believes that when refugees enjoy their human rights they can access effective, lasting solutions.

We build transformative rights-based approaches to refugee response. These rights-based approaches include policy advocacy, strategic litigation, legal services, and community legal empowerment programs.

Position Description

Asylum Access Thailand (AAT) seeks applications from well-prepared candidates with strong writing skills and a passion for social justice who are ready to commit themselves to spending six months to a year as a Volunteer Legal Advocate based in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Volunteer Legal Advocates (VLAs) will provide legal counsel, advice and advocacy on behalf of refugees seeking asylum or the assertion of other legal rights.  Following an intensive training program in international refugee law, VLAs will be given the opportunity to practice before local offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Position Responsibilities

Duties may include but are not limited to:

  • Conduct client intake and screening interviews, assess needs and refer to other service providers as needed.
  • Advising refugees on the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process and assisting them in understanding their rights.
  • Interviewing refugees and submitting written briefs on behalf of those undergoing individual RSD before UNHCR.
  • Maintaining a high caseload in a fast paced, demanding environment while adhering to strict filing deadlines.
  • Conducting research on “country of origin” situations and refugee law jurisprudence.
  • Develop material for workshops and legal clinics for refugees, work with translators to adapt materials, and teach and/or participate in the workshops and legal clinics.
  • Occasionally, representing AAT at events, conferences and meetings, and/or assisting in other publicity and/or fundraising efforts.
  • Assisting with the general administrative duties of the office, including helping to build administrative capacity within the office to meet demand as AAT grows.

Required Qualifications:

  • Interest in international human rights and/or refugee rights and/or related topics.
  • Ability to work with diverse individuals and groups. Candidate should be culturally sensitive.
  • Working knowledge of English is required, knowledge of other languages (Chinese, Urdu, French, Farsi, Tamil, Arabic, Khmer, Vietnamese Kinh, Hmong) is very helpful.
  • An easygoing personality with the demonstrated capacity to handle living and working in an ad-hoc environment where difficult situations and crises can develop at a moment’s notice.
  • Aptitude to successfully complete assigned tasks with minimal oversight while serving clients with the highest ethical standards.
  • Understanding of the importance of working as part of a team and the ability to carefully and faithfully follow the direction of AAT management staff.
  • Ability to commit to at least 6 months of full-time work.
  • Basic working knowledge of Gmail, Google Drive, Ms Office and related tools (Docs, Sheets, etc.)

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Degree in Law (specialisation in International Law or International Refugee Law an asset).
  • Experience working in direct client services, ideally with asylum seekers or in human rights, as well as a strong passion for social justice work.
  • Experience working with vulnerable populations and/or survivors of trauma.
  • International experience living and working cross-culturally in developing countries, preferably in Southeast Asia.
  • Experience working in a non-profit setting with limited resources, ideally in the global south.


Volunteer Program Highlights

Development Training – Throughout your work with us, Asylum Access will support you with a series of tools to maximize your programmatic work and your understanding of refugee law and practice. Regular training and debriefing sessions will offer you the chance to enhance and process your experience and share insight about cross-cultural issues.

Casework – Once you join our team, you will be responsible for your own casework, which you will see through preparation, submission and results. This will give you an invaluable experience and lasting ties with your clients.

Joining our Network – After working with us, you will be connected with an ever-growing network of refugee legal advocates around the world, which circulates job openings, research opportunities, refugee news, and more.


Instructions to Apply

  1. Interested candidates should submit their resume, cover letter and a concise writing sample to with “VLA - Thailand” in the subject line by 30 September 2018.
  2. Please specify the duration of your availability and the proposed start date in the application. (Example: Available to volunteer for 6 months starting July 2018)
  3. Early applications are encouraged. Shortlisting and interviews will be arranged as applications are submitted.


Please note that all Asylum Access VLA positions are unpaid; we are happy to work with successful applicants to arrange for funding or school credit where available. The VLA will be responsible for expenses incurred relating to obtaining their visa. AAT will be responsible for government and legal service fees in obtaining work permit only. Details and orientation on required documents and procedure in applying for visa and work permit will be shared with successful candidates.


Asylum Access takes protection & safeguarding extremely seriously. Employment is subject to our Child & Vulnerable Adult protection standards including where possible, background checks. Adherence to our Safeguarding Policy is mandatory for all staff, volunteers, and interns.


Asylum Access is an equal opportunity employer



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