Refugee Legal (formerly Refugee Immigration Legal Centre)

Field of Law

Asylum Seekers

Stage of career

Secondary; Undergraduates; Practising Lawyers

Contact details

Address: Level 6, 20 Otter Street, Collingwood
Phone: 03 9413 0101
Visit the Refugee Legal Website
Social Media: Twitter; Facebook
Contact person: Ms Bianca DeToma, Volunteer Coordinator

Description of Organisation

Refugee Legal (formerly the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre) is Australia’s largest provider of free specialist legal assistance to people seeking asylum, refugees and disadvantaged migrants. Since 1998 many lives have been bettered and saved. These people would not otherwise be able to access help on what are often life-threatening matters. In 2019, Refugee Legal’’s total client assistance was 14,285.

The legal services provided by Refugee Legal include:

  • Telephone Advice Line
  • Evening Advice Service
  • Day time casework, including full legal representation
  • Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) Clinics
  • Strategic ‘test case’ litigation
  • Client and community information sessions

Refugee Legal continues to be at the forefront of advocacy and test case litigation in the High Court. In recent years, we have successfully argued 9 out of 9 High Court cases including the ‘Malaysia Solution’ case, which had a profound impact and enabled thousands of people to rebuild their lives in safety and with dignity.

Number of legal positions within organisation: 25

Information for secondary schools

Do you have work experience placements for secondary school students?

Yes, we offer work experience throughout the year. Places are limited.

Contact person for work experience placements: Bianca De Toma

Do you host school trips or send speakers to schools?


Contact person for school trip and/or speakers: Ben Goulding

Information for university students/graduates looking to volunteer or complete a placement

Do you have a graduate program? (involving practical legal training and admission to practise)

No, but we offer a limited number of volunteer Practical Legal Training Placements. Intake is dependent on supervision capacity within the organisation. All placements require a minimum commitment of 3 days a week for at least 1 month.

Do you take seasonal clerks and if so, how many per year?

  • A proven commitment to social justice
  • Very strong research and analytical skills;
  • An ability to write clearly, express complex ideas succinctly and reference using AGLC;
  • Capacity to pay close attention to detail while working in a fast-paced environment and juggling multiple tasks;
  • An ability to follow instructions meticulously and complete tasks to deadlines;
  • A high level understanding of administrative processes, including word processing and basic computer skills, organisational skills, a good phone manner and familiarity with data collection;
  • A sensitivity to clients from a variety of backgrounds and a willingness to communicate openly with them and welcome them to Refugee Legal; and
  • A flexible attitude and willingness to take on new tasks when requested.

Qualifications/skills required

For a PLT placement, we are looking for someone who has enrolled in a PLT program.

What electives/areas of study are viewed favourably?

  • Administrative Law
  • Any kind of study of migration law (international or domestic)
  • Any proven commitment to social justice through a long-term volunteer role is viewed favourably

How does one apply:

Applications through our placement page of the website:

Dates for application: Rolling intake

Interview process: ALL PLT applicants must attend a face-to-face selection interview

What sort of volunteer/work experience  opportunities are available?

Volunteer opportunities are advertised on Refugee Legal’s website:

Contact person for volunteers:

Ms Bianca DeToma, Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: 94130160

Information for practicing lawyers

What are you looking for in a permanent employee?

Essential attributes

  • Capacity and/or experience in performing casework and advice on refugee and general immigration matters, including good working knowledge of laws, policies and procedures in the jurisdiction.
  • Capacity and/or experience in public presentations, research and teaching, preferably on legal issues.
  • Capacity and/or experience in the formulation of policy/law reform positions, advocacy and community-based presentations on such matters.
  • Proven interest and experience in advising and assisting people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, including those who are in situations of disadvantage.
  • Ability to work quickly and effectively under pressure.
  • Capacity to pay close attention to detail while working in a fast-paced environment and juggling multiple tasks.
  • Ability and willingness to work flexible hours, including outside standard business hours on weekdays, and on weekends.
  • Ability and willingness to travel to and work interstate and overseas, including at remote immigration detention centres.
  • Capacity and/or experience in the supervision of legal and other work, particularly of work undertaken by volunteers.
  • Holder of current legal practising certificate and Migration Agents Registration by commencement of employment.

Desirable attributes

  • Proven familiarity with and experience in working as a staff member and/or volunteer in a nonprofit community sector setting as part of small team, including demonstrated ability to work both collectively and, where necessary, with initiative and self-reliance.
  • Detailed appreciation of, interest and experience in current issues confronting people of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in the refugee and immigration law areas, including law reform and advocacy issues.
  • Interest and experience in teaching and other public presentations on topics concerning immigration and refugee law, policy and procedures.
  • Strong appreciation of, interest and experience in working with people of distinct disadvantage, including victims of torture or other trauma.
  • At least three years’ experience in legal practice

What prior work is viewed favourably?

Migration Law experience - details as above

On average, how many positions become available per year?


How many applications do you receive of these?


Where do you advertise your positions?

The Age and the Federation of Community Legal Centres' website

Do you use a recruitment agency?


Victoria Law Foundation Grants logo