Working for MSF
Interested in working in the field with MSF? How can I apply?
Throughout the year we recruit candidates for different field positions according to the needs we see in the different project. You can find the different field positions here. Each position will give information about the requirements and how to apply.
Can I work for MSF for a short period?
No, in order to do our work in the most qualitative and effective way, we will need you to work for 9 to 12 months in one of our projects. As an exception in light of a specific emergency, we might apply different requirements and have separate application and training procedures to those for our regular profiles. If that is the case, you will find specific job profiles on our website.
Do I need to be a NL resident to apply to work with MSF-Netherlands?
MSF-Netherlands can accept applications for overseas project positions from people residing in The Netherlands and people with current and previous MSF-Netherlands/OCA employment (in some cases depending on your residence).
If you are not a resident of The Netherlands and you do not have working experience with MSF OCA/MSF-Netherlands, contact your nearest MSF office to apply for a position. Or consult this website to learn what will be your MSF office to apply.
Do I need to be based in The Netherlands to apply to work with MSF-Netherlands?
You do not need to be based in The Netherlands to apply. Our recruitment process, including tests and interviews, take place online.
Successful candidates must be able to attend induction/onboarding, training and briefings in person or online. You will receive more information when reaching this step.
Can I work for MSF for a short period?
No, in order to do our work in the most qualitative and effective way we will need you to work for 9 to 12 months in one of our projects. Exceptions might be made if there’s a specific emergency project, then we apply different requirements and have separate application and training procedures. If that is the case, you will find specific job profiles on our website.
What are the working hours in an MSF project?
Working hours vary considerably depending on the project with, on average, one day off per week. In an emergency context it can slightly differ. Work can be very busy, and you may be required to put in longer hours. However, time is normally set aside for rest and relaxation.
Do I need experience of working abroad?
It is essential to have some travel and/or work experience in a low-resource country or countries. Depending on the experience it can be valuable. Added value it is if you have experience in an emergency setting in an international context.
What type of positions do people fill in MSF projects?
We recruit medical and non-medical staff to work in our projects. You can think of Medical Doctors, Midwifes, Logisticians, Human Resource managers, Humanitarian Affairs Officers, Health Promoters, Finance managers, Water and Sanitation managers etc. All of these people bring professional abilities, practical experience, as well as a commitment to and concern for the people they help. People are our priority. At Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/ Artsen zonder Grenzen, we are committed to an inclusive culture that encourages and supports the diverse voices of our employees. We encourage diverse applicants including individuals of all gender identities, ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, races, religions, beliefs, social and marital status, people with different abilities and all other diversity characteristics and how they work together.
Can you work for MSF if you have a diplomatic status/passport?
Yes, that is possible, although it does depend on the situation. We will ask you if you have another passport that you can use. The non diplomatic passport will be preferred.
Do you provide gap year placements?
No, we do not provide gap year placements.
Can I volunteer in an overseas project or in the MSF office in the Netherlands?
There are no possibilities volunteering in an overseas project. And we do not offer internships in our projects. Because of the nature of our work, we only send out field staff who have a minimum of 2 years of work experience. Other than that, we keep our international staff teams as small as possible for security reasons and we find it important to have paid staff that stays with our organisation for multiple project assignments.
Yes, occasionally we have volunteer and intern positions in our Amsterdam office. Visit the volunteers and internships page for more details.
May I request placement in a specific country?
It is not possible to honour specific country requests. We recruit applicants into a pool before matching them to a specific position based on their skills, experience and background.
We expect candidates to be flexible about where they work so that we can meet the needs of our projects.
However, your special skills, languages and restrictions will be taken into consideration in each placement.
Can couples apply to work together on the same project?
We are usually unable to place couples together on their first assignment as individuals are matched to specific vacancies across the world, based on their skills.
It can also be difficult to place a couple in the same place at the same time even when they have experience with MSF as vacancies become available at different times.
Do I need to speak another language to work for MSF?
English is the official MSF language. However, fluency in another language will enhance your application and the possibility of placement.
At the moment the demand is high for fluent French and Arabic speakers.
Applicants who can speak Russian, Spanish will also be at an advantage.
How long are assignments?
The length of a first assignment is between nine and 12 months for all professions, except anaesthetists, genealogists and surgeons who, due to the intensity of their work, are placed in projects from six weeks to three months.
In case you are matched to an emergency assignment (experienced positions) the period can be shorter. Between a few weeks up to 3 months.
How long does the acceptance a matching process take?
The recruitment process on average takes around two to six weeks (period can differ due to time needed for reference requests and/or verification of documents).
As soon as you are officially accepted to the pool, the matching process starts. Depending on the needs in the different projects, that can take up to 6 months on average. Your availability is also considered.
Which role should I apply for?
You can find all the different roles and descriptions here. There are Medical, Paramedical and Non-Medical positions you can apply for.
Can I apply to multiple roles?
Yes, you can apply to multiple roles if you meet the requirements. However, you will only be recruited for one pool. We suggest that you choose the role best fitting.
If after 1 or more project assignments, your qualifications, skills etc. meet other needs you might be asked for other matching assignments. You may also inform your Career Manager about your career growth wishes. In some cases, a technical validation or assessment is necessary.
What are the criteria to work for MSF?
Detailed criteria can be found on the role description pages. We can only accept applications from people who meet the majority of the requirements and applications must be made online.
Our shortlisting is based on:
- applicants that meet most of the criteria – please read the specific criteria per position
- applicants with the specific skills needed in our projects at that time
The specific skills we need can change quickly depending on the projects that we are working in.
I do not meet your criteria (yet); can you recommend another organisation for me to try?
Yes, we can.
If you do not (yet) meet the requirements for working with MSF or your profession is not listed, you may wish to look at the following organisations which also operate abroad.
Are you currently working locally in one of the projects with MSF-OCA or with another OC, please contact your HRCo where to apply or contact the OC who operates the project you are working in.
- Save the Children
- Because we Carry
- Red Cross
- International Commitee of the Red Cross
- Hivos People Unlimited
- Stichting Vluchteling
When is the best time to apply?
You can apply as soon as you have definite dates of availability and normally around eight months before you can go. Your availability is important to know, as that information is used to see how that matches with the needs in the different projects.
If you apply with an availability in two months, please be aware that most likely you will not receive an offer for a project assignment start date that matches your exact availability.
Compensation, pay and benefits
What will be covered when departing to a project overseas and/or working in a project?
- We will cover all travel costs to and from the project where you will work and your domicile. This includes all flights (based on economy class fares) between the project and your domicile. Flights you would like to book for holidays are excluded.
- Accommodation will be provided in the project, as well as during travel to and from the project where required.
Safety and security
- Your safety and wellbeing are very important to us. You will be fully briefed on this prior to travelling to a project and during the preparation course.
Travel and health insurance
- We provide travel and health insurance for all our international staff. Please be informed that this is on top of your own health insurance.
- Additional allowances: you might be entitled to additional allowances like per diems and home and child allowance. If this is applicable you will be informed when you receive your offer.
Do your project staff get paid?
A salary grid is applicable, where salary depends on responsibility involved in the position and the amount of previous experience. All general living costs in the project are covered by MSF.
Does MSF cover expenses?
MSF covers the following expenses:
- Return economy air travel for the most direct and cost-effective route between the residency and the project
- Reimbursement for the cost of obtaining necessary visas
- Some specific vaccinations
- Accommodation and transportation during your contract (including briefings and debriefings)
- Per diem based on the cost of living in your project country
- Training costs if you are placed on one of our preparation courses
- Health insurance, including medical evacuations and repatriation, whilst on assignment and for up to three months after return while being in your home country.
You will be required to complete a Health Declaration Form and undertake pre-departure health checks with an MSF appointed clinic, which will assess your health before you leave for your assignment.
All medical information is treated confidentially and won't be shared without your consent.
Do I get annual leave while working overseas?
You are entitled to 25 days paid holiday per year pro rata.
Am I covered by insurance while working in an MSF project?
We will arrange and cover your health insurance while working with MSF. This will continue for up to three months once you return to your domicile. In the event of medical evacuations, repatriation is also covered.
What if I am injured or become ill while you are in a project?
We arrange insurance cover which care and, if necessary, repatriation for field staff.
Are there career development opportunities?
Yes, MSF is committed to the people that make up the organisation, and we offer learning and development opportunities at different stages of your career with us.
Pre-departure preparation and induction
All new staff are offered a five-day pre-departure training that will cover some of the basic skills you will need in your first project. MSF NL also offers a two-day induction for all field staff that covers topics like humanitarian ethics and dilemmas, how to prepare for your first project and how to prepare for returning home again.
Learning on the job
In your first role, you will have many responsibilities directly related to the technical skills for which we’ve hired you. Whether these are medical or para-medical skills, or non-medical skills like human resources, finance, engineering, supply, etc. But there are often additional things expected of you; from team management to negotiation, context awareness, and the flexibility to step in to cover other roles. These opportunities will help you develop new skills by learning on the job.
MSF offers a variety of in-house training on topics relevant for staff working in our projects, such as technical medical skills, humanitarian affairs, emergency response, water and sanitation, different levels of general management, and security management.
MSF training opportunities are normally available when you are working in an MSF project, or when you are in-between projects. Please discuss this with your line manager in the project or with your Career Manager.
As MSF works in several French-speaking contexts in West and Central Africa, speaking French is a strong asset for us and a requirement for some roles. Where French is a pre-condition, we expect you to have a strong B1 level.
If you are planned to go to a French-speaking MSF project, we are sometimes able to offer a one- or two-week French immersion course. These offers are made to brush up your skills and boost you to the required level, but you will be required to have brought yourself to a B1 level beforehand.
Hygiene and sanitation
Is it possible to order hygiene products while working in a project?
In some projects possibilities might be limiting due to restrictions, poor infrastructure and limited resources. We recommend bringing with you what is important to you. In some projects to receive goods can be highly difficult. You can always ask your Career Manager for advice.
Responsibility of employee
MSF values their principles. Therefore, we work with a Code of Conduct that you will be asked to sign.
For all medical and paramedical positions, a valid medical license and registration is applicable. Please ensure validity.
For any questions not answered in our FAQs, please email: email@example.com or join us in an information session.