Public Interest Careers Guide - Asylum Seekers Resource Centre

Field of Law

Asylum Seekers; Community Legal Centres

Stage of career

Secondary; Undergraduates; Practising Lawyers

Contact details

Address: 214-218 Nicholson Street, Footscray  VIC  3011
Phone: (03) 9326 6066
Visit the ASRC website
Contact person: Shabnum Cassim
Email: volunteer@asrc.org.au

Description of Organisation

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is both a place and a movement. ASRC is an independent not-for-profit organisation, whose programs support and empower people seeking asylum to maximise their own physical, mental and social wellbeing. As a movement, ASRC mobilises and unites communities to create lasting social and policy change for people seeking asylum in Australia. ASRC is proud to be owned and run by our community of volunteers and supporters.

As an independent, community-led organisation the ASRC is in a unique position to advocate for the human rights of people seeking asylum, exempt from the pressures of government or the private sector. For this reason, the ASRC has been able to take a leading position in the opposition of Australia’s asylum seeker policy, while offering alternatives to issues faced by people seeking asylum and refugees.

ASRC the is the largest independent human rights organisation for refugees and people seeking asylum, delivering more services on the ground than any other independent asylum seeker organisation in the country. ASRC offers more than 40 holistic programs that protect people seeking asylum from persecution and destitution, support well-being and dignity, and empower people to advance their own future.

ASRC is proudly owned and run by our community and supported by a network of more than 1000 volunteers and 100 staff in assisting around 4600 people seeking asylum each year.

The Human Rights Law Program (HRLP) is a community legal centre that provides free expert legal advice and representation to refugees and people seeking asylum. HRLP also actively engages in policy and law reform, community legal education and training.

Number and type of positions within organisation

The HRLP is made up of up to 20 staff (Solicitors who are also Migration Agents, as well as program management staff) and approximately 150-200 volunteers.

Information for secondary schools

Do you host school trips or send speakers to schools?

Not currently running, please keep an eye on our website for information (link: https://www.asrc.org.au/home/our-services/how-we-help/community/schoolsprogram/)

Any other opportunities for secondary school students?

Information for university students/graduates

Do you have a Graduate or seasonal clerkship Program?

No

However, HRLP does offer a robust Practical Legal Training program. Approved students must commit to volunteering for 2–3 days per week for a minimum of 60 days. To apply to undertake your PLT with the HRLP, please send a cover letter and CV along with your institution’s requirements to volunteer@asrc.org.au

What sorts of volunteer or internship opportunities are available?

The HRLP has a huge number of volunteer positions and provides an energetic and engaging workplace with ongoing training and development opportunities. Positions are advertised frequently via https://www.asrc.org.au/become-a-volunteer/

Volunteer roles in the program currently include both legal and non-legal roles:

  • Archiving volunteers
  • Paralegal volunteers
  • Legal Triage volunteers
  • Legal Caseworker volunteers
  • Community Legal Education volunteers
  • Research volunteers
  • Knowledge Management volunteers
  • Monitoring and Evaluation volunteers

Student Placements are available in the paralegal or triage team if program capacity permits. Students must commit to 2-3 days per week for the duration of their placement. To apply to undertake your student placement with the HRLP, please send a cover letter and CV along with your institution’s requirements to volunteer@asrc.org.au.

What are they looking for in a volunteer/employee?

  • Demonstrated interest in Refugee Law and commitment to protecting the rights of people seeking asylum.
  • Ability to work in a culturally appropriate manner in line with ASRC values, and adherence to our responsibilities as a Community Legal Centre.
  • Ability to take instructions, accept feedback and implement performance improvements.
  • Flexible, collaborative attitude and ability to build strong relationships with our staff, volunteers, clients, suppliers and associates.
  • Professional phone manner with high-level communication skills, including the confidence to liaise with a range of clients, staff, volunteers, associates and community members.
  • Attention to detail, administrative and time management skills, and the capacity to handle ongoing and one-off tasks consistently and competently.
  • Technical proficiency in Google and Microsoft systems, formatting documents, preparing letters and learning new systems.
  • Previous experience in a legal office is favourable, although not essential for all roles.

Information for practising lawyers

Volunteer opportunities for practicing lawyers are available in the HRLP’s legal clinic on Wednesday evenings as well as adhoc positions during the day. If you would like more information, please email volunteer@asrc.org.au or keep an eye on the website for Legal Caseworker roles to be advertised.

Staff roles are advertised on www.ethicaljob.com.au on a needs basis. The qualifications and experience required for solicitor roles will be outlined in the advertised Position Description.

Castan Centre logoProgressive Law Network logo

Victoria Law Foundation Grants logo