UNHCR The Entry-level Humanitarian Professional Programme (EHP)



Location (s):

  • Switzerland
  • Worldwide


The Entry-level Humanitarian Professional Programme (EHP) is a competitive point of entry into UNHCR for talented professionals and who have a passion for humanitarian work.


This recruitment initiative is designed to identify highly qualified and motivated individuals with the right profiles willing to be deployed to field locations where they are needed most. As part of UNHCR’s global talent management strategy, which aims to achieve the organisation’s current and future goals, the EHP focuses on attracting, selecting, developing and retaining new talent to grow and develop within the organisation.

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Applicants will need to fulfil the following minimum requirements:

  • Advanced university degree, at least a Bachelor’s degree, from an accredited institution;
  • Two years of relevant work experience in the respective functional area;
  • 45 years of age or younger by the closing date of applications;
  • For language requirements, please refer to the following link;
  • Willingness to serve in conflict zones and field locations.

UNHCR would like to increase opportunities for its national officers and general service staff to enter the International Professional category. With this in mind, the EHP programme aims to recruit at least 30 per cent of the cohort from the national officer or general service workforce.

What is the programme about?

The EHP programme offers a structured development programme in a highly collaborative environment, where participants can apply their experience and knowledge to UNHCR’s mandate. It enables participants to directly contribute to international action that protects people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution.

EHP participants join UNHCR at P2 level (UN grading scale) for a two-year cohort programme. They are deployed to the field after successfully completing a comprehensive residential orientation course.

From the start, participants work closely with experienced staff members and will be hands on with operational work. Assignments provide well-rounded experience in regional and country-specific issues. Those on the EHP programme can also access training courses focused on: UNHCR policies and operations, software applications, and written and oral communication. They can also take advantage of an extensive range of in-house training seminars to enhance their professional skills and support their career development.

EHP participants are initially given a one-year work appointment. Rigorous performance assessments take place throughout their assignments. At the end of the first year, and based on their performance, these appointments may be extended for a second year.  Approximately 18 months after the start of their initial appointment, a final performance review, which not only comprehensively evaluates how the participant has fared but also determines their suitability for a career with UNHCR, is conducted and successful candidates are granted the possibility to apply for internally-advertised vacancies. The first EHP cohort was launched in 2014 and many candidates have already been retained and appointed to regular UNHCR positions.

The selection and appointment process

EHP applicants go through a comprehensive selection and appointment process, which includes:

  • Screening/shortlisting based on profile requirements;
  • Assessment tests (languages, technical, etc.);
  • Interview;
  • Inclusion in the EHP cohort;
  • Final recommendation by field managers and the Division of Human Resources Management;
  • Reference checks (academic and professional);
  • Appointment to a specific position and location by the High Commissioner;
  • Induction;
  • Deployment to the field.

The recruitment and selection process normally takes between four to five months from the time of advertisement. Successful and recommended candidates are expected to start no later than two months after the offer letter has been sent.

Why join the EHP programme?

It provides an excellent grounding for a career in the humanitarian sector and related fields. If you are looking for an international career in a renowned global organization, where you can make a real contribution to refugee issues and events, this programme could be the right starting point for you.


Deadline: The application period is open for one or more cycles a year

Cost/funding for participants:

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