Individual Consultant (Family Reunification Specialist)

NGO Jobs / UN Jobs Vacancy

Country: Panama
Organization: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Closing date: 18 Jan 2021

Office: UNHCR Regional Bureau for the Americas
Title of project: Regional Report on Procedures for Family Reunification of Refugees and Migrants in the Region. Challenges, opportunities and recommendations to promote family unity.
Purpose of project: Facilitate the realization of a regional study focused on the policies and procedures regulating family reunification of refugees and migrants in the countries of the region, as well as the analysis of how these policies and procedures are implemented in practice. The study would provide relevant information about the legal and practical challenges faced by refugees and migrants, as well as opportunities to expand family reunification.
Location: Home-based
Duration of the assignment: 6 months
Condition: Full-time (40 hours per week)

General Background of Project or Assignment:
Latin American and Caribbean States that participate in the Quito Process host approximately 4 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela who have settled in their territories in the last years. Although many have left their country due to the deterioration of the socio-economic, political and human rights situation, which it is hoped can be overcome in the future, a large number have temporarily established their residence and obtained various residence permits or accessed legal-stay alternatives.
The increasing numbers of Venezuelan refugees and migrants arriving in the countries of the region in 2017-2019 led to a response approach strongly focused on reception capacities and assistance to address immediate needs. Once this scenario has been overcome, the current challenge arises around the efforts to promote successful integration in hosting communities where refugees and migrants have settled.
In the response to the Venezuela Situation, family unity is essential for the successful integration of refugees and migrants into host communities and contributes to greater participation in the economic, social and cultural life of host countries. Likewise, family reunification is an ideal way to provide access to regularization mechanisms and promote safe travel conditions across borders for families that have been separated.
The principle of family unity is recognized and protected by regional human rights law, including the American Convention on Human Rights. The principle of family unit was recently included in the framework of the Inter-American Principles on the human rights of all refugees, migrants, stateless persons, and victims, adopted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In addition, the national legislation of many countries in the region contemplates and establishes generous provisions on the right to family unity of refugees and migrants.
Despite the legal recognition of the Principle of Family Unity in the regulations of the countries of the region, families that have been separated due to displacement face in practice numerous barriers in the reunification process, which leads to protracted situations of separation, negatively affecting the ability of refugees and migrants in destination countries to integrate and thrive. Barriers that families may face include: i) lack of information regarding the procedures/requirements to access family reunification; ii) complexity, delays, requirements / documentation and costs (fees) of family reunification procedures are inaccessible to PoC; iii) need for guidance and legal assistance in family reunification procedures; iv) limitations on logistics (preparation and travel arrangements)
In practice, families that have been separated face many obstacles in the reunification process, including documentation requirements and difficult to cover costs, lack of information and support, complex and lengthy procedures, as well as logistical barriers for family travel.
The Quito Process took a key step towards enhancing the Principle of Family Unity. The Declaration of the VI Quito Process Meeting
In order to expand and facilitate family reunification, it is necessary to review the requirements, safeguards and procedures in force for the departure, admission and regularization of family members who remained in other countries; strengthen coordination between States, increase access to information and orientation, as well as discuss the role that cooperation actors and civil society can develop with a view to supporting the legal, administrative and logistical aspects of the reunification and integration of families in host communities.

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:
To view occupational safety and health considerations for specific duty stations, please visit this link:

Overall Purpose and Scope of Assignment:
Objectives of the Study:

  1. Improve knowledge of the policies, regulations, procedures and practices implemented in the countries participating in the Quito Process in relation to family reunification of refugees and migrants.
  2. Collect, systematize and analyze information on obstacles, challenges and good practices related to family reunification of refugees and migrants.
  3. Present initiatives and recommendations with a view to expanding and facilitating the family reunification of refugees, including the simplification of procedures, legal and administrative requirements; the reduction of fees / cost of family reunification procedures; and the strengthening of data collection systems.
  4. Collect and present good practices developed in other regions that can be adapted or serve as a model to expand the pathways to family reunification.
  5. Reflect on the role and opportunities for international cooperation agencies and civil society organizations in the implementation of initiatives that facilitate family reunification, including the search for family members, logistical support for travel and procedures, and support for integration in host communities.

Activities and Deliverables

  • Development of a proposed Work Plan.
  • Development of a methodology for the collection of data, good practices and lessons learned about the family reunification process.
  • Organization of a meeting for discussion and interpretation of data and information.
  • Development of a Regional Report on Family Reunification Procedures for Refugees and Migrants in the Region. Challenges, opportunities and recommendations to promote family unity.
  • Publication and dissemination of the Report.

Required level, qualifications and work experience:
a. Education (Required and / or preferred level and area of education)
The consultant must:

  • Have a bachelor's degree in social sciences.
  • Possess postgraduate studies (master's) in social sciences, international law, international relations.
  • Have research and training experience in the field of international refugee law and/or international migrations, and international law.

b. Work experience
A minimum of 5 years of work experience with national and / or international organizations, Civil Registries and / or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) related to the subject is required.

c. Key competencies (Technical knowledge, administrative aptitude or other relevant personal competencies for the performance of the assignment)
The consultant must be able to:

  • Work with a high degree of autonomy;
  • Demonstrate initiative, flexibility and commitment in the tasks and work guidelines assigned by the supervisors;
  • Work under pressure and with tight terms;
  • Coordinate with the designated focal points for the request and verification of information;
  • Speak and write in English fluently;
  • Write documents in a clear and concise way in Spanish and English.

Language requirements: English and Spanish are essential for this Job Opening.

Additional Information:

Please note that this position is offered under Individual Consultancy contract.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed and might be requested to sit for a test. Only short-listed candidates will be notified. No late applications will be accepted.

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing or training.)

How to apply:

Interested applicants are kindly asked to visit the page to submit an application to the Job Opening ID 24242.

We only accept applications submitted through the MSRP portal for this job opening no. 24242.

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