Asylum Access Vacancy: Volunteer Legal Advocate (VLA) - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Asylum Access Vacancy: Volunteer Legal Advocate (VLA) - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening: Starting October 2014.

Applications accepted on a rolling basis for Fall and Spring positions. Remuneration: 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. Details and orientation on required documents and procedure in applying for visas will be shared with successful candidates.

Asylum Access Malaysia (AAM) is actively seeking applications from individuals passionate about social justice and refugee rights, and who are driven to make a positive impact in the lives of refugees living in Malaysia. Volunteer Legal Advocates (VLAs) will commit to a minimum of six months in Malaysia where they will be supervised by the Legal Services Coordinator/Manager, and will work alongside other refugee advocates and fellow volunteers.

Following an intensive training program in international refugee law and domestic laws and policies on refugees, VLAs will play a key role in executing AAM’s advocacy tools:
  • Legal aid: VLAs will provide legal counsel and advice to refugees seeking asylum before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia. They will also assist in the representation of clients during Refugee Status Determination (RSD) proceedings in the UNHCR. 
  • Community Outreach: VLAs will also be given the opportunity to participate in community legal empowerment initiatives, develop materials for Know-Your-Situation workshops and handouts for refugee community members, and participate in other activities to reach refugees where they are.
AAM looks forward to its launch of direct legal services to refugees living in Kuala Lumpur in October 2014. VLAs starting in October 2014 will have the unique opportunity join AAM’s dynamic launch team and help shape AAMs legal aid and community legal empowerment programs. In addition, during this exciting launch period, VLAs can play an important role in collaborating to create and update templates, protocols and manuals as well as collect crucial institutional information and best practices that will serve as a foundation for all AAMs legal services work.

Vacancy: Volunteer Legal Advocate
Asylum Access Malaysia

AAM fosters a collaborative team environment, to which all VLAs will contribute. The VLAs help to support the full management of the office, which includes participating in direct office administration essential to the successful running of AAM operations. VLAs may be also expected to facilitate community activities, present information about Asylum Access and refugee rights at community events, and organize conferences and meetings.

Position Responsibilities
VLAs for the October 2014 intake are responsible for the following duties:
  • Advise refugees on the RSD process and assist them to understand their rights and domestic laws and policies that govern them;
  • Conduct client intake and screening interviews, assess needs, and identify and refer relevant service providers as needed;
  • Interview refugees and submit written briefs on behalf of those undergoing individual RSD before UNHCR;
  • Maintain a potentially high caseload of RSD cases in a fast paced, demanding environment while adhering to strict filing deadlines;
  • Communicate updates with clients on a timely basis;
  • Conduct research on Country of Origin Information (COI) and refugee law jurisprudence;
  • Develop material for “Know Your Situation” workshops for refugees, work with translators to adapt materials, and teach and/or participate in the workshops;
  • Participate in community meetings and assist in identifying and developing the leadership capacity of community members;
  • Assist in developing and executing client outreach strategy in collaboration with the AAM team;
  • Assist with the general administrative duties of the office, including helping to build administrative capacity within the office to meet demand as AAM grows.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Ability to commit to at least 6 months of full-time service-work;
  • Degree in Law (specialization in International Law, International Refugee Law or International Human Rights Law an asset);
Vacancy: Volunteer Legal Advocate
Asylum Access Malaysia
  • Experience working in direct clients 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;
  • Community organizing experience an asset;
  • Experience working in a non-profit or legal aid setting with limited resources, ideally in the global south;
  • Experience living and working cross-culturally, preferably in Southeast Asia or other areas with large refugee populations;
  • 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 follow the direction of AAM management staff; 
  • An easygoing personality with demonstrated capacity to handle living and working in an ad-hoc environment where difficult situations and crises can develop at a moment’s notice;
  • A positive, flexible personality and attitude;
  • Professional written and verbal English is required, knowledge of other languages (Burmese, Arabic, Tamil, Urdu, Somali, Farsi, French) very helpful.
Program Highlights
Refugee Rights Training and Professional Development – Throughout VLAs work with AAM, the organization will support VLAs with a series of tools to maximize their programmatic work and their understanding of refugee law and practice. Regular training and debriefing sessions will offer VLAs the chance to enhance and process their experience and share insight about cross-cultural issues.

Casework – Upon joining the team, VLAs will be largely responsible for their own casework, which they will see through preparation, submission and results. Throughout the life of a case, they will receive support and mentorship from AAM’s leadership team. This will give VLAs the practical experience of legal representation, client contact, research, brief writing, and other invaluable legal experience.

Vacancy: Volunteer Legal Advocate
Asylum Access Malaysia

Joining our Network – After working with Asylum Access, VLAs 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. VLAs will have access to the mentorship of AAM’s leadership team.

Closing Date: 1 Oct 2014
How to apply:
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and a legal writing sample (between 2 - 3 pages) to with the subject line “VLA Application - Malaysia”. Applications will be received on a rolling basis for our Fall and Spring positions. 

Candidates who apply by 11 August 2014 will be prioritized for the October 2014 intake. Please be sure to specify in your cover letter what makes you uniquely qualified to be a VLA with AAM and how volunteering with AAM fits into your career plans. Please also state the dates that you expect to be available.

Each year Asylum Access receives a high number of applications for a handful of VLA positions and thus it is strongly encouraged that applicants submit polished and complete applications as early as possible.