Expert RSD Advisor on ‘Refugee Appeals Authority and the Department of Home Affairs of South Africa: Backlog Project’, Pretoria

Expert RSD Advisor on ‘Refugee Appeals Authority and the Department of Home Affairs of South Africa: Backlog Project’

Operational Context

The South African Refugees Act [No. 130 of 1998], as amended, grants asylum seekers the opportunity to lodge an appeal to the Refugee Appeals Authority of South Africa (RAASA) within ten working days of receipt of the letter of rejection from a Refugee Status Determination Officer (RSDO). ln recent years, due to requirements that the appeal body’s members meet as a quorum as well as increased number of asylum applicants, the RAASA has inherited a substantial backlog. This backlog has been an obstacle to the South African authorities’ efforts to ensure an asylum system that is fair, efficient, adaptable and which has integrity. At the same time, large number of individuals seeking international protection wait for long periods of time to receive o final decision on their asylum application. Recent amendments in legistation now allow individual members of the RAASA to consider an appeal case and empower the department to increase or decrease members with due consideration to the caseloads.

The UNHCR and the Government of South Africa have agreed, under a formal and dedicated four-year appeals backlog project, to put resources together and prioritise the processing of the backlog cases. The backlog is ring-fenced to include all appeal applications up to and including December 2016 while normal daily processing of RAASA appeal applications from January 2017 onwards is to continue. As of September 2020, the total active “unfounded” cases pending appeal prior to December 2016 amount to 123,424. A four-year Project and lmplementation Plan in three phases has been agreed and approved by the Minister for Home Affairs with implementation to commence as soon as possible.

  • Title: Expert RSD Advisor on ‘Refugee Appeals Authority and the Department of Home Affairs of South Africa: Backlog Project’
  • Duty Station: Pretoria, South Africa
  • Duration: 334 days
  • Contract Type: Individual Consultant
  • Closing date: 20 August 2021
  • Job Opening: JO28729

The position

Objectives of the Project:

  1. To implement the agreed Project and Implementation Plan collaboratively between the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the RAASA and the UNHCR.
  2. To implement the two strategic priorities of the project:
  3. The finalization of the active appeals in the backlog prior to 2017
  4. Implementation of best practices to prevent future backlogs

Duties and responsibilities

All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR’s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.

Responsibilities of the incumbent:

The consultant will be the key expert advisor of the Deputy Representative of UNHCR South Africa on matters related to RSD questions in the context of and as part of the above-described project.

As such, the consultant will be responsible for:

  1. Under the supervision of the Deputy Representative and in line with the guidance of the Project’s Advisory Group the consultant will:

1.1. Work collaboratively with counterparts at the DHA and RAASA to ensure timely implementation of the agreed Project and Implementation Plan.

1.2. Co-chair the project’s Operations Group (OG), meeting at least once a week with DHA and RAASA counterparts also in the OG and supporting them as needed. Together, the Operations Group members will report to the project’s Advisory Group (AG) – formed of representatives from the three bodies – at least once a month.

1.3. Support the implementation of actions in each of the five key thematic areas of the Plan:

  • Administrative processes;
  • Technology;
  • Human Resources (including Performance Management);
  • Adjudicative strategy;
  • Communication and information sharing.

1.4. Act as a main expert point of contact at UNHCR, offering RSD-specific expertise where required and support and facilitate liaison between DHA, RAASA and any other UNHCR departments or colleagues who may be asked to support the project, e.g. programme, lCT, RSD, etc.

1.5. Offer technical advice and support as needed to the different RRO (Refugee Reception Offices). lf the Covid-19 situation allows, preferably on the ground.

1.6. Perform other activities relevant to the Project as required.

The Appeals backlog is a specialized project relating to the adjudication of claims for asylum. As such, the consultant will be required to adhere to all DHA, RAASA and UNHCR protocols as regards security and confidentiality of information.

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required

The ideal candidate will be required to have:

The incumbent must have the following experience and qualifications

  • Minimum 9 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 8 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 7 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree Experience in the field of asylum adjudication.
  • The ability to interpret policy and legislation.
  • Excellent drafting and report writing skills.
  • Excellent diplomacy skills.
  • Fluency in English.

An incumbent with experience and qualifications in the following will be an added advantage:

  • Experience in the field of asylum system management and design.
  • Experience in working with Government bodies.
  • Project management experience.
  • Process design and development.
  • Experience in promoting Capacity Development activities.

Key Competencies:

· Core Competencies:



Organizational Awareness

Teamwork & Collaboration

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Client & Result Orientation

· Managerial Competencies:

Empowering and Building Trust

Managing Performance

UN High Commissioner for RefugeesJudgement and Decision Making

Strategic Planning and Vision


Managing Resources

· Cross-Functional Competencies:

Analytical Thinking

Political Awareness

Policy Development and Research


The successful candidate will be based in Pretoria, South Africa. If the Covid-19 restrictions allow, the consultant will be based at RAASA offices but will additionally be required to work in/from different DHA Refugee Reception Offices in South Africa and UNHCR’s Multi-Country Office in Pretoria.


The position starts as soon as possible and it is for 334 days.

How to apply

Interested candidates are requested to apply on the UNHCR career page at – by clicking on the Vacancies tab and entering job ID 28729.

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.

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

Closing Date

Please note that the closing date for this advertisement is Friday 20 August 2021.

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