JOB OPENING: Senior Protection Assistant (Refugee Status Determination)

© UNHCR Cyprus

Duration of contract:  Full-time, starting 18 February 2019 until 31 December 2019

LocationUNHCR Office in Nicosia, Cyprus

To apply, please send a completed United Nations Personal History Form and a motivation letter to Ms Maria Kyriacou ([email protected])

Closing date:  25 January 2019

  • Applications without the above documents will not be considered.
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be accepted.
  • Applications will not be acknowledged. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.

Organizational context:

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”) is the agency entrusted by the United Nations General Assembly with the mandate to provide international protection to refugees and, together with Governments, to seek permanent solutions to the problems of refugees. According to its Statute, UNHCR fulfils its mandate inter alia by “promoting the conclusion and ratification of international conventions for the protection of refugees, supervising their application and proposing amendments thereto”. Article 35 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and Article II of the 1967 Protocol requires states parties to cooperate with the office of the UNHCR in the exercise of its supervisory responsibilities.

UNHCR’s supervisory responsibility has been reflected in European Union law, including by way of a general reference to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees in Article 78 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”), as well as in Declaration 17 to the Treaty of Amsterdam, which provides that “consultations shall be established with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees … on matters relating to asylum policy”.

Within the framework of UNHCR’s supervisory responsibility, the UNHCR country office in Cyprus seeks a Senior Protection Assistant (Refugee Status Determination) to be seconded to the Asylum Service of the Republic of Cyprus, the authority responsible for the issuance of first-instance decision, to assist in establishing and operating an internal quality audit procedure. The Senior Protection Assistant will work under the supervision of the Assistant Protection Officer and Protection Officer of the Protection Unit of UNHCR and will assist to build the capacity of the Asylum Service in operating a fair and efficient Refugee Status Determination procedure.


The post-holder will assist in the following areas:

  • Building and developing the capacity and expertise of refugee status determination decision-makers;
  • Improving and streamlining Refugee Status Determination procedures;
  • Drafting guidance and standard operating procedures on asylum processes and specific themes, including on a methodology for identifying specific needs;
  • Developing an effective and sustainable internal asylum quality assurance mechanism


The post-holder will undertake the following tasks and responsibilities:

1. Objectively evaluate through close proximity monitoring the current methods and procedures in the Refugee Status Determination Procedure in Cyprus to determine the level of application of the 1951 Geneva Convention and other relevant instruments, in particular, the EU Qualification Directive and Asylum Procedures Directive;
2. Draft specific reports and recommendations based on observational findings and develop action plans accordingly;
3. Draft a standard operating procedure in relation to accelerated and prioritised Refugee Status Determination;
4. Develop standard operating procedures on asylum processes and specific refugee law themes, including developing a procedures for identifying and meeting specific procedural needs;
5. Provide one-to-one and group advice on protection standards and produce written guidance for RSD decision-makers;
6. Develop terms of reference, guidance and tools for the establishment of an internal quality team within the Asylum Service of the Republic of Cyprus.


Education and work experience:

  • Undergraduate degree (equivalent of a BA/BSc) in Law, International Law, Political Sciences or related field plus minimum 3 years of previous work experience relevant to the function. Graduate degree (equivalent of a Master’s) or Doctorate degree (equivalent of a PhD) may also be accepted.
  • Fluency in written and spoken Greek and English.
  • Excellent IT skills including database management skills.