Job Vacancy: Advocacy Officer ‘Detention and Return’

Are you an experienced advocate eager to apply your skills to upholding the rights of undocumented migrants?

Can you confidently and convincingly engage with advocacy targets? Could you advance rights-compliant, non-custodial alternatives to immigration detention and campaign to end child detention? Could you leverage pressure on the European Union and its member states to reduce the use of immigration detention and ensure rights and safeguards in return procedures? Can you work collaboratively with other organisations, institutions and networks focused on human rights, migrants’ rights, due process and deprivation of liberty?

Then we’d like to speak to you.


Application Deadline: Monday, 4 February 2019

PICUM is looking for a highly experienced advocacy professional to lead the creation, implementation and assessment of its advocacy strategy on reducing the use of immigration detention, ending child detention and improving safeguards during the return process. We have an interest in pragmatic, solutions-based advocacy, focused on achieving real change.


The advocacy officer will develop and implement strategies to influence EU policy-makers, as well as relevant member state governments, to support, develop and implement innovative approaches to reducing and ending immigration detention and to uphold their human rights commitments towards migrants in the return process. Working closely with PICUM members active at local and national level, this role will also involve working with a broad range of partners active on alternatives to detention, migrants’ and child rights, due process, deprivation of liberty and the harmful impact of enforcement policies.



PICUM works to ensure that nobody should be exposed to exploitation, abuse, discrimination because of their immigration status. We make change happen by increasing awareness about the realities facing undocumented migrants and ensuring accountability for their rights. Founded in 2001 as an initiative of frontline organisations to mobilise support for undocumented migrants, today PICUM leads a network of over 160 civil society organisations in more than 30 countries.


Main Responsibilities


Strategic Advocacy


  • Develop, implement and evaluate an advocacy strategy that engages and influences all relevant target audiences;
  • Undertake advocacy to ensure concrete improvements in policies and practices by influencing and enlisting the support of policy makers, elected officials, civil servants, intergovernmental and governmental bodies and agencies, funders, strategic partners and other allies;
  • Coordinate and implement actions and strategies to maximise PICUM’s impact at national, EU and global policy level;
  • Liaise and develop joint advocacy and learning with PICUM member organisations;
  • Develop joint work with institutional, civil society and other strategic partners, including through participation in relevant networks, alliances and working groups, including the European Network on Alternatives to Detention;
  • Monitor and analyse relevant legal, policy and practice developments, including funding opportunities, within the European Union, Council of Europe, and United Nations institutions, as well as at national level, identifying issues of concern and opportunities to engage for PICUM and its member organisations;
  • Influence and enlist the support of decision makers, the media, social movements, funders, and the general public;
  • Maintain PICUM’s position as a key expert on migrant rights in detention and return at European and global level;
  • Produce high quality written material to successfully target external audiences (policy briefs, articles, written responses to consultation);
  • Act as a spokesperson representing PICUM with national, European and international press, with members, and in front of a wide range of stakeholders at external events with different formats, including presenting at conferences, designing and running workshops, as well as in bilateral and multilateral advocacy meetings;
  • Networking and alliance building with potential institutional, civil society and other strategic partners, as well as potential members and potential funders;
  • Influence the research agenda by engaging with academic and research partners, participating in educational programmes, and responding to requests for information;


Supervision and coordination:


  • Schedule and work closely with PICUM staff to ensure timely production of outputs;
  • Work closely with PICUM staff to ensure coordination between over-lapping thematic areas of work and joint analysis, and to provide input, advice and support to others as needed, including through participating in weekly staff meetings and strategy sessions;
  • Co-recruitment and supervision of PICUM’s advocacy trainee;
  • Strategise with PICUM staff, Board and members, as appropriate, to develop PICUM’s strategic and work planning, including short, medium and long-term objectives, and develop funding proposals;
  • Contribute to meeting PICUM’s commitments to current funders, by monitoring and reporting on PICUM’s activities and achievements;
  • Ensure activities and outputs are completed within budget and in accordance with PICUM procedures and contractual obligations, seeking input from Financial Director where necessary;
  • Participate in PICUM’s governance structures as appropriate, including by providing necessary information, analysis and logistical support to PICUM’s Board and General Assembly;
  • Work flexibly alongside other members of the PICUM team to take on relevant tasks as appropriate over and above those set above.


Skills, Knowledge and Experience


  • At least five years of experience working on human rights at EU, national or global level, including experience with face-to-face advocacy with EU and national level policymakers;
  • In depth knowledge of EU migration policies and experience of working to translate human rights principles into the context of migration control;
  • Experience in monitoring and analysing the policy-making processes and identifying opportunities for strategic engagement with the European Union and United Nations institutions;
  • Experience in working collaboratively with other organisations or institutions to develop common positions;
  • Fluency in English, including exceptional English writing skills with the ability to write for a variety of different platforms and audiences;
  • High degree of attention to detail and commitment to quality;
  • Strong organisational skills, initiative and follow-through, ability to work independently, quickly, accurately and juggle multiple tasks;
  • Demonstrated interest and commitment to advancing the human rights of irregular migrants;
  • Willingness to relocate to Brussels and undertake occasional work-related travel.


  • Fluency and strong writing skills in other languages an asset (particularly PICUM’s working languages, French and/or Spanish);
  • Strong network of contacts among civil society networks, EU and UN institutions, member states on migration policy issues.
  • Experience in working in a transnational civil society network at European or global level;
  • Experience in policy development and formulating policy standpoints for an NGO.

Terms of Appointment

  • Full time position (37.5 hours/week) with an unlimited term contract;
  • Salary according to the wage scales of the Flemish non-profit sector (PC 329 barema L1), ranging from €3,435– €3,974 gross per month, according to relevant work experience;
  • Working conditions are according to Belgian legislation. Meal vouchers, hospitalisation insurance, and thirteenth month are also provided;
  • Weekly fresh bio fruit basket for the whole team.
  • PICUM is an equal opportunity employer. People from communities that traditionally experience discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity or immigration status; women; people with disabilities; and LGBTQ+ people are especially encouraged to apply.


To Apply

  • Please send an application form (download HERE) in English by Monday 4th February 2019 9:00 CET (Central European Time), addressed to Ms. Michele LeVoy, Director, to the email address:
  • Please note that only completed application forms will be accepted (not CVs or cover letters), and only by email. We urge all candidates to please read the person specification carefully and ensure they meet the essential criteria before applying. Due to large numbers of applications, we regret that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited to undertake a timed written test between 6-13 February 2019.



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