Head of National Office (Vienna)


Head of National Office (Vienna)


The incumbent of the post will be the Head of National Office (Vienna) and will be required to lead and supervise the UNHCR team in NO Vienna, including consultants and other affiliate workforce working on various activities in Austria.  S/he will be required to assume responsibility and be accountable for the day to day activities of UNHCR in Austria, which requires the ability to work independently, under the overall guidance and supervision of the Regional Representative for Western Europe (based in Brussels).

The incumbent will manage the ongoing activities and issues of concern in Austria. In this function he will be required to represent UNHCR in a range of governmental boards and working groups. S/he will be expected to establish and strengthen working relations with senior government officials and the Presidents, as well as judges, of all relevant Courts.  S/he will also build/strengthen working relations with senior staff of NGOs and lawyers working in the field of asylum with a view to positively influence the Austrian Refugee Status Determination (RSD) system and promote UNHCR protection guidelines and principles.  Equally, academics, Austrian human rights experts, legal specialists in Austrian constitutional and administrative law, members of political parties and journalists will be important counterparts in discharging his/her function.  Direct supervision, regular guidance and support is provided by the Regional Representation on issues concerning protection, programme, administration and external relations. 

Regular interactions with the UNHCR Regional Representation to review and to discuss operational issues will be part of the structural arrangements between Vienna and Brussels.


- There is a clearly articulated country strategy in place to protect and to find durable solutions for persons of concern.
- The protection framework in Austria ensures availability and quality of asylum and solutions for all POCs.
- UNHCR's policies and standards are applied consistently within the country operation to ensure quality protection for persons of concern.
- Resources are commensurate with operational objectives and are allocated and managed effectively to meet the operation's objectives.
- UNHCR provides a healthy, safe and respectful working environment for its workforce in Austria.

- Stay abreast of the challenges posed by the local political context/discourse and manage the UNHCR operation in Austria; a key element of this task will be to reach out and build/strengthen the partnership with a range of external actors.
- Promote UNHCR¿s objectives and priorities through formal and informal contacts and demarches with relevant officials in various government ministries, relevant other authorities as well as with staff of NGOs and lawyers working in the field of asylum and statelessness, with due regard for the specificities of the Austrian legal system and administrative environment. In this context, represent UNHCR in a range of governmental boards and working groups (where the working language will normally be German). In addition, liaise with UN agencies, diplomatic missions, international organizations/NGOs, the media, and other interested parties aiming at generating support for UNHCR¿s goals and objectives.
- Promote a protection framework in the country with a view to ensuring availability and quality of asylum as well as durable solutions for refugees and other persons of concern. Provide proper advice/information on asylum and refugee related questions to government officials, the media as well as the public at large; specifically provide guidance and support related to the development of Austria's resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes and advocate for the establishment of alternative/legal pathways to reach Austria for persons in need of international protection.
-      Ensure that national legislation and state policies related to refugees and other persons of concern are in line with
        applicable international standards. In this context, analyse complex legal documents, which are predominantly in
        German and comment on them against the background of both international and European law as well as Austrian
        Constitutional and administrative law (including asylum and refugee related legislation).
- Ensure adequate protection of refugees, asylum-seekers and other persons of concern by monitoring the administrative and judicial practice; by developing and maintaining informal and formal networks of contacts as well as by intervening and advocating with relevant senior officials from the Government at the Federal and provincial level, with political parties, members of Parliament, judges, lawyers, NGOs, academics, human rights experts, and legal specialists in Austrian constitutional and administrative law.
- Develop and implement a comprehensive communications strategy that generates political and financial support for UNHCR. Promote public understanding on refugee/asylum issues, inter alia by giving media interviews and developing/implementing awareness raising measures, in full awareness of the particularities of the Austrian media scene as well as Austria¿s refugee and asylum related history and the public discourse about it, in order to generate support for UNHCR¿s work and objectives, and to ensure that UNHCR continues to be perceived as a reliable source with regard to all issues related to refugees and other persons of concern.
-    Advocate for proper funding of UNHCR by the Austrian Government, both for UNHCR's global activities and for specific activities in the country.  Develop, in close cooperation with RRWE and PSP, the required structures to    each out to the private sector specifically for fund-raising purposes but also with a view to establishing other forms of cooperation in support of UNHCR's POCs.
- Manage UNHCR¿s ongoing activities within Austria in an effective and efficient manner that supports the Organization¿s overall mandate.
- Ensure that staff and resources are commensurate with the operational objectives in the country of responsibility.
- Ensure effective and efficient management of financial and material resources within the rules and procedures of UNHCR.
- Exercise effective managerial oversight, direction, guidance and support and conduct regular performance appraisals, coaching and assessment of staff's training and development needs.
- Provide regular reports and required information as well as recommendations to the Regional Representative for Western Europe on political, socio-economic, and cultural developments that may affect the situation of refugees in the country.
- Perform other related duties as may be required.

- Represent UNHCR viz. the Austrian government, NGO, the media and other actors/partners as well as in relevant
external fora, incl. working groups, boards, etc.
- Ensure implementation of the country strategy and the agreed priorities, the country operations plan and Austria's
protection strategy.
- Ensure compliance with UNHCR's protection, programme, finance and human resources as well as security related
policies and standards.
- Negotiate and develop local agreements with implementing and operational partners.
- Authorize payments as per RRWE's DOAP and in accordance with UN/UNHCR rules and procedures.

- Advanced University degree in Law (ideally from an Austrian university) with specialization in both International  
Human Rights Law/international Refugee Law and European Law with sound knowledge of the national legal, 
administrative/judicial and political system in Austria as well as in-depth knowledge of Austrian/European asylum and refugee affairs
- Minimum of 6 years of progressive professional experience in dealing with domestic and European legal/policy issues related to asylum-seekers, refugees and stateless persons in Austria.
- Demonstrated experience in political networking and advocacy, with specific contacts already developed among
Austrian key officials in the area of asylum.
- Demonstrated experience in working with the media.
- At least 3 years of experience in managing an office, incl. supervising a team.
- Excellent German, fluent in English, both written and spoken

- Communication skills.
- Negotiation skills.
- UNHCR Learning Programmes in Management and Operations.
- Knowledge of UNHCR Protection Guidelines, Policies and Principles.
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.
  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Vienna
  • Grade: P-3, International Professional
  • Occupational Groups:
  • Closing Date: 2016-10-27

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