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Frequently Asked Questions

The length of a first mission is between nine and twelve months for all professions, except anesthetists and surgeons who, due to the intensity of their work, are placed in projects from six weeks to three months.

For our projects in the field, MSF accepts applications from professionals who have already graduate with minimum two years’ experience, after graduation, which are basic criteria for international staff. MSF cannot provide the possibility for internship in the field.

As soon as the application is submitted, MSF is trying to have the first communication as soon as possible, according to the ongoing needs in the per profile. The selection process usually is completed in 4 to 6 weeks.

If the selection is successful, the next step is the special preparation training for new members of MSF. After that the waiting period before the first departure lasts average 4 months. Please note that the absorption of each profile is changing according to the needs in the field.

When working abroad with MSF, you will have to adapt to many changes, including food, accommodation, daily routine, recreation and language. A new lifestyle is awaiting you, where free time and privacy can be in short supply. You may have to share your bedroom and bathroom. You need to be sure that you can do without normal creature comforts before applying to MSF.

MSF projects can take place in locations where the weather conditions are not always mild (extreme heat or cold, high humidity, heavy rainfall or desert climate). You will also be a long way from your friends and family for several months at a time. Communication can be difficult.

Living conditions in the field (security, housing, etc.) often make it difficult for field staff to be accompanied by children or partners who aren't participating in the mission.

We have a very small number of family postings for experienced MSF Country Coordinators for limited periods.

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 well be taken into consideration in each placement.

 

You'll be required to complete a Health Declaration Form and undertake pre-departure health checks with an MSF appointed clinic, who will assess your health prior to going on mission. All medical information is treated confidentially and won't be shared without your consent.

There is no minimum or maximum age for participation in MSF projects, although there are other criteria that you must fulfill.

 

MSF arranges comprehensive insurance cover for our staff. If you become ill we will provide healthcare on mission, and in the event of medical evacuations, repatriation is also covered.

Working hours vary considerably depending on the project with, on average, one day off per week. Work can be hectic and you may be required to put in longer hours. However, time is normally set aside for rest and relaxation.

 

English is the official MSF language. However, fluency in another language will enhance your application and the possibility of placement.

At the moment demand is high for fluent French and Arabic speakers. Applicants who can speak Russian, Spanish, Hindi or Urdu will also be at an advantage. 

 

International field staff receive a salary, based on their position and experience. After one year of field experience the field worker will enter a salary grid, where salary depends on responsibility involved in the field position and also the amount of previous experience. Meanwhile, all the costs in the field would be covered by MSF.

 

We'll cover all travel costs to and from the project where you'll work. This includes all flights (based on economy class fares).

 

People are entitled to 28 days pro rata holiday per year. MSF will also pay a set rate, depending on the project location, to allow people to be able to travel out of the country in which they are working for their annual leave.

Accommodation will be provided in the project, as well as during travel to and from the project where required.

Your safety and wellbeing is very important to us. You'll be fully briefed on the security situation and the management policies and practices that MSF has in place, prior to travelling to a project.

If you need to leave a project early for reasons related to safety and security, your own wellbeing, or for any other reason, we'll always organise and cover transport back home.

We provide travel and health insurance for all our international staff.

Find the criteria for various roles within MSF here

MSF sends out approximately 3,000 international staff per year and employs around 27,000 local staff. In addition, there are thirty three MSF offices around the world providing operations and support functions which employ over 600 permanent staff. 

We recruit medical and non-medical staff to work in our projects. All of these people bring professional abilities, practical experience, as well as a commitment to and concern for the people they help.

Our projects are manned by national staff with minimal international presence. On average, for every expatriate posted to a specific project there are seven local workers. They provide everything from technical and administrative assistance to nursing and medical skills.

 

Unfortunately, MSF cannot place medical students within its projects. Some junior doctors may reach our requirements, but we favour those with longer term experience.

 

Please see the specific role requirements for each job on the following page