Working with Refugees and Immigrants can be a very rewarding experience. We have collected a list of paid internships for your consideration. If you are interested to learn more about refugees rights and issues consider to sign up for an online course. We have a multitude of other resources you can browse on our website.
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
IOM is the leading intergovernmental organization working with migration around the world. They work closely with governments, NGOs, and other intergovernmental organizations to develop and implement programs, conduct research, and recommend policies surrounding the areas of migration and development, facilitating migration, regulating migration, and forced migration.
IOM provides primarily paid internships for senior undergraduate students, graduate students, recent master’s-level graduates who completed their degree less than a year prior to starting the internship, and other individuals sponsored by government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions. Interns must be between ages 19 and 36 and should have a working knowledge of English, French, and/or Spanish.
Internships last from 2 to 9 months, depending on the intern’s availability. Interns are given a monthly living stipend unless otherwise arranged. They can work in a country office in their home country or in an overseas office but must arrange their own travel plans and visa.
UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
UNHCR is the United Nations organization that works to protect rights and build better lives for refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people. They provide humanitarian assistance in the form of material aid, advocacy, economic development, protection, and global needs assessments. They work heavily in countries with conflict zones, environmental disasters, and nomadic groups of people to ensure that the most vulnerable communities are protected and provided for both in material needs and in human rights law.
UNHCR offers internships for currents students and recent graduates from UNESCO accredited universities and education facilities. Students must have completed at least two years of undergraduate work to be eligible. UNHCR provides food and transportation stipends for students without financial aid from outside parties; however, students must cover the expense of their own travel to the country of placement and visa applications. Interns can work in the Geneva office or field offices depending on internship availability and preference.
US Committee for Refugees & Immigrants (USCRI)
USCRI is a US-based organization focused on working with refugees, immigrants, unaccompanied minors, and human trafficking victims. They have refugee resettlement programs across the country, as well as programs that work to help other immigrants, children arriving to the US without adults, and survivors of human trafficking. USCRI has a total of 100 branch and affiliate offices throughout the country, including the headquarters in DC.
USCRI offers a variety of paid internships (stipend) in their field offices, and the affiliate offices may offer paid internships as well. Their lists the email for the internship coordinator at each field office, which you can email to find out more about internships opportunities at the individual branch offices. The headquarters no longer offers an internship program.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
IFRC is an international organization that works in the areas of health, disaster relief, migration, education, protection and inclusion of vulnerable groups, youth development, and other related issues. Particularly in the area of migration, they work with refugees, internally-displaced persons, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable migrant groups to ensure their rights to safety and dignity. They support migrants around the world in reaching their destinations safely, connecting them to social services and supports, reuniting family members, and advocating for their rights.
IFRC offers paid internships for students and recent graduates of educational institutions who studied in a field related to IFRC’s work. Students must cover their own travel and medical expenses. Internships are full time and range in location and job role. IFRC offers internships at their offices around the world in all areas of their work, including migration. Students interested in working with this particular issue should look for internship opportunities that engage with IFRC’s migration and development programs.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
ICRC is an international organization that does humanitarian work and assistance for victims of war and violence throughout the world. They focus their programs on vulnerable people groups, including migrants, refugees, asylees, and internally displaced people. In terms of migrants and refugees, ICRC helps to locate missing family members, reunite families, and provide necessary supports to those in refugee camps and conflict zones.
ICRC offers paid traineeships at their Geneva headquarters for current students and recent graduates, helping them develop their professional experience and gain relevant skills for their future careers. All traineeships are full time, and ICRC typically has a total of 80 trainees each year. Traineeship opportunities are listed through the regular career portal.
American Red Cross
American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization working primarily in the US with public health, disaster relief, and education. Throughout the US they work with all populations, including refugee and immigrant communities to help increase public health and education about health and safety issues. They also have a branch of international services that focus on similar issues and work with vulnerable groups of people such as refugees, asylees, and other migrants displaced by environmental disasters and conflict.
The American Red Cross offers internships at their DC headquarters, as well as at their regional offices around the US. They have both paid and unpaid internships; paid internships are listed on the careers page. While the start and end dates for internships are flexible, the typical internship cycle runs for 10 weeks. Paid positions are typically full-time.
Students must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program to be eligible. Internships with the American Red Cross are offered in a variety of issue areas and roles. Students can apply for the specific internship position they wish to obtain; there are no general internship applications accepted. Those interested in working with migrants and refugees, especially in the capacity of health and humanitarian work, might be especially interested in this type of work.
UNICEF is the United Nations organization dedicated to working specifically with issues that impact children, including displacement and migration among other issues. UNICEF promotes protection and inclusion of children, nutrition, health, development, education, equality for girls, and emergency relief. They also conduct research and studies to develop better strategies and solutions to global issues impacting the lives of children around the world.
UNICEF offers internships to students currently enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, as well as recent graduates. Students must be fluent in English, French, and/or Spanish, as well as fluency in the language of the country office to which you are applying to work. UNICEF emphasizes that applicants with family members at the office to which they apply are not eligible to intern there. Stipends are available through many of the UNICEF offices, and interns can often get their travel and visa expenses paid for as well. All internship opportunities are listed on the regular UNICEF employment page. Those interested in working with refugees and migrants should look for opportunities dealing directly with those populations or at country offices that work heavily with those populations.
World Food Programme (WFP)
WFP is a global humanitarian organization that works to increase and ensure food security, deliver emergency food assistance, improve nutrition, and build resilience. Two-thirds of the work that WFP does is in conflict-affected countries where they are primarily assisting refugees, asylum-seekers, and displaced people groups. WFP also works heavily in UN-established refugee camps to deliver food, improve nutrition, and increase food security during their temporary placement. All of their current active emergency situations involve assisting people who were displaced by conflict or environmental disaster.
WFP interns must have completed at least 2 years of an undergraduate program and be currently enrolled in a recognized university or have completed a degree in the last 6 months. They must also be fluent in English; other languages are a plus. WFP internships last between 2 and 8 months, and interns receive a stipend of up to $1000 a month, depending on the assigned duty station. Students who are applicants from developing countries may be eligible to receive reimbursement for their travel expenses. WFP internships are advertised on their main employment page.
Danish Refugee Council (DRC)
Danish Refugee Council is a Denmark-based international organization that does humanitarian work in communities of refugees and internally-displaced people (IDP). They work to provide advocacy and protection, shelter and other non-food items, coordination in refugee and IDP camps, economic development, food security, community development, water and sanitation services, armed violence reduction, mine clearance, and education. DRC is involved with the entire process of displacement, from the moment the emergency arises to the moment the individuals are re-placed in permanent homes.
DRC offers a wide variety of internships and traineeships in their headquarters and field offices. Each internship opportunity has its own set of requirements and length of duration. Some are paid, but some are unpaid; salary amount is listed in the job description. All DRC internships and traineeships are listed on their employment page.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Catholic Relief Services is a US-based Catholic humanitarian organization that works internationally to provide a variety of services to the most vulnerable populations of any, all, or no religions. They provide programs to address emergency response and recovery, agriculture, health, education, microfinance, water security, justice and peacebuilding, partnership and capacity building, youth development, monitoring and evaluation, and accountability. Much of their work includes working with refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally-displaced people in countries around the world.
CRS offers internship both domestically in the US and internationally. International internships are unpaid, but domestic interns can be paid or unpaid. Paid interns receive an hourly salary and are expected to work at least 10 weeks for 15 to 25 hours a week. CRS also hires students for the summer to work full-time positions in between school years. All paid internships are listed on the CRS employment page as available.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
The ACLU is a US-based nonprofit organization that works to advocate for and protect the rights of individuals as determined by the US Constitution and laws. They work through a network of organizations and law firms to promote policies and enforce laws that protect people’s human and civil rights. The issues they focus on cover a wide range of topics that include immigrant rights, as well as other civil rights topics that directly impact refugee and immigrant communities in the US.
The ACLU has a paid internship program designed to give students and recent graduates hands-on, meaningful experience in areas related to human and civil rights work. All internships are 10-week, 35-hour-a-week opportunities. Students receiving course credit for the internship are not eligible to receive a stipend. Internships are offered in the areas of legal, communications, advocacy, operations, tech & analytics, and special projects. Those interested in working with immigrant rights and other related areas should look for internship positions that would allow them to work with this issue.
Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres – MSF)
MSF is an international organization that provides emergency response, health care access, long-term care, mobile treatment, advocacy, and research for vulnerable people around the world. They have offices in over 70 countries and work in a variety of settings, including with refugee, migrant, and displaced communities. In refugee camps, they provide necessary medical care and supplies to ensure the health and safety of refugees temporarily placed there. They also work with other groups displaced by conflict and natural disasters to make sure they have medical care while they are in transition.
MSF offers an internship program through the New York office that takes place three times a year. Interns are paid an hourly salary and can apply to work in a variety of positions, including advocacy, marketing and multimedia, finance, access campaigns, research, and more. Interns must be eligible to work in the US without sponsorship and are responsible for obtaining their own accommodation.
Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance (MIRA) Internships
Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance (MIRA) is a Chicago-based organization that works with refugees, asylum-seekers, and other immigrants from all over the world living in Chicago. They offer refugee resettlement services, child and family programs, adult education programs, immigration legal assistance, community engagement services, and referral services. While the primary country of origin for their clients is Iraq, they are dedicated and equipped to serve clients from all countries, especially Arabic populations.
MIRA has offers paid summer internships for students and recent graduates who are eligible to work in the US. Applicants must speak English and Arabic fluently, and MIRA prefers that they be familiar with Middle Eastern cultures and populations. Internships are part-time or full-time depending on the agency’s capacity and need. Internship opportunities are listed on MIRA’s internship information page as they become available.
Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
MPI is a nonpartisan think tank designed to improve immigration and integration policies through research and analysis, education, and development. They provide insight and information to government agencies, organizations, and the public in the areas of US immigration policy, immigrant integration policy, and international migration issues. MPI has offices housed in Washington, DC and Brussels and also has a presence in the United Kingdom.
MPI offers research and communications/editorial internships at their Washington, DC office. They provide a stipend to both part-time and full-time interns. Applicants must be at least a senior in college to be eligible. The internship program is divided into 3 cycles (spring, summer, fall), and each period is a duration of 4 months with some flexibility. Interested individuals can apply by following the instructions listed on MPI’s internship page.
US Government Pathways Internship Program
The US government performs a variety of tasks and duties in several areas, including refugee and immigrant admission and services. The Department of State houses the US Refugee Resettlement Program through the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and does some additional work with foreign victims of trafficking through the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP). The Department of Health and Human Services is home to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees domestic programs designed to serve refugees, asylees, unaccompanied minors, and victims of trafficking. The Department of Homeland Security and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services are also both directly involved with refugee and immigrant populations in the US.
The US Government organizations offer the Pathways Internship Program for current students to obtain work experience. Interns area paid through this program. Internships can last for up to one year for the initial period and may be on a part- or full-time basis, depending on the agency’s need. Students who meet a certain set of hours worked may be eligible to be hired for a temporary or permanent position. Interested students can find available internships on USAjobs.gov, and those interested in working specifically with refugees and immigrants should focus on the above-listed bureaus and offices for relevant internship opportunities.
Hello Neighbor is a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization that works to connect newly arrived refugee and immigrant families with local mentors and community members. The program is designed to provide friendship, stability, and community to the refugee communities in Pittsburgh. They also provide events for refugee families and their mentors to attend, allowing the families to explore fun and unique places in the city and begin to build a new home.
Hello Neighbor offers paid internships in the areas of program support, event planning, community outreach, fundraising, communications and marketing, policy and research, and multimedia support. Interns must be able to commit to a minimum of 12 hours a week and be able to attend occasional evening and weekend events. Fluency in English is required, and fluency in a relevant second language is a plus. Calls for internship cohorts can be found on their career page.
Private immigration law firms in your country
If you are interested in working specifically in the area of law relating to refugees and immigrants, search for or ask your university’s career services for information about local and national immigration law firms. Many law firms offer paid internships for law students, giving them a chance to get first-hand experience with legal issues surrounding refugee and immigrant communities in their own communities and country.
Not the right internship? Consider having a look at our section for paid human rights internships. You can also learn more about human rights in one of these free courses to explore your interests further.