Q Is there an upper age limit for field workers?
No. However, field workers do need to have the physical and mental fitness to cope with the demanding conditions that may be encountered on a field assignment.
Q Can I still apply if I have not worked in my profession for several years?
For medical profiles, applications with more than a two years gap in clinical experience may not be accepted as they will be expected to be competent to immediately use their skills in challenging environments. This is not the same for applicants with non-medical profiles, who can apply even if there are career/work gaps and will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Q Does it improve an applicant's chances if they have worked in a limited-resource setting or remote area?
Yes. This experience may be similar to the one you will find working in the field with MSF. You need to be independent, confident in your skills and be able to make your own decisions without much close support, supervision or a hospital system backing you up on site.
Q Do you have any requirements for the proficiency of English or French?
We do not require a proof of language proficiency in our language test stage, but you should be at a level that allows you to communicate within a multinational team in English or French without difficulty. You also need the ability to express your own ideas proactively within a team.
Q I am not Japanese. Am I eligible to apply to MSF-Japan?
It depends on your work permit and residency status. Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Q How does the interview screening work?
A recruiter and sometimes a specific profile specialist will attend the Interview to understand your availability, motivation, personality and knowledge of MSF. It's a good occasion for MSF and candidates to have common understanding about filed work, the culture of MSF, the process of placement and so on. We conduct an interview English or French.
Q I have applied to join MSF before but was not accepted. Can I apply again? What chance do I have to be accepted?
The recruitment team will give you feedback upon unsuccessful screening. If you have gained more experience or skills since your last application, it will be worth applying again. There are cases where changes in field needs have led us to recruit people with different profiles. Some candidates have had several interviews over a number of years before they have been accepted. If you are considering applying after a previous rejection, please contact the recruitment team and discuss your situation.
Q I have a chronic illness/diseases. Can I participate in the field work?
We request all the field workers to get a medical check-up with your doctor before you leave. This check-up is essential if you taking specific medications, which not only require a medical examination before your field assignment but also on-going follow-up to be organized whilst you are in the field. The medical coordinator (responsible for the health of field teams) and the doctor following team health in your field project can help you with your medical requirements, so we recommend you inform them when you arrive. Please provide information about any current and ongoing illness and your doctor's comment, if possible, in the application form.
Q Does MSF recruit lab technicians, dentists, otorhinolaryngologists, ophthalmologists, neurosurgeons?
No. Please see our website that features the positions we are currently recruiting.
Q Does MSF recruit paramedics?
Please note that MSF does not currently recruit paramedics. We do not require staff with this profile because we do not generally run ambulance services in our projects in the field. When patient transfers take place, these are often done in MSF vehicles, and patients are accompanied by MSF nurses and/or medical doctors. In the few locations where we do run ambulance services, paramedics are recruited locally.
Q Does the face-to-face interview takes place at MSF Japan Office (in Tokyo)? Will I be responsible for the travel cost to Tokyo? (Will MSF reimburse my travel cost to Tokyo?)
Face-to-face interviews take place in the MSF Japan Office. However, it is possible to do it online if you live very far away from Tokyo. You will be responsible for the travel cost and not MSF.
Q How long does the recruitment and matching process take?
It may take more than one month from the time of application to validation/registration. After validation/registration, we start matching a person to a position. This could take weeks or months depending on various factors, including your availability and vacant field positions. Therefore, your registration does not mean you will be able to go on a field assignment immediately. For the recruitment process, please refer to the "How to apply" page.
Q Can I specify places I do not want to go to, or somewhere I especially want to go to?
As part of our charter, we assist populations in danger regardless of whom or where they are. As such, we ask people who work with us to adopt the same principles. You might, for example, have language skills or cultural experience that is suitable for certain countries. This will be taken into consideration when matching you with a position, but generally we place people based on our project needs.
Q Does a Médecins Sans Frontières field worker get paid? What costs are covered by Médecins Sans Frontières?
Once a field assignment is confirmed, MSF will be responsible for all travel, visas, and relevant vaccinations.
MSF will provide staff with:
- Round-trip flights from home to field assignment
- Accommodation in Tokyo/Europe during briefing/debriefing
- Monthly salary
- Medical insurance
- Accommodation in the field (shared housing mostly with private rooms)
- Per diem on field assignment in local currency
Please refer to Benefits & career opportunities to get more detail information.
Q Can I go on assignment with my partner and/or kids?
All posts for first-time field staff are unaccompanied. Most placement locations do not allow for friends or family members to visit. Accompanied posts may be offered to experienced fieldworkers, depending on field needs, condition and situation.
Q How much notice will I get of an upcoming placement?
Once you are available we try to provide 3 to 4 weeks' notice. It is very rare that we can give more notice than this. The less notice you need to be able to go to the field, the more vacancies you can be considered for.
Q Do I need to quit or take a leave from my current job before going on a field assignment?
It depends on the person. Some field expatriates take a period of leave with the employer's consent, others quit their job to work with MSF.
In the Field
Q Can I have access to Internet, e-mail, and telephone in the field? Can I receive personal letters or parcels in the field?
Available communications varies by country or area: for example, internet access is mostly available in cities, but it is not guaranteed in remote areas. Furthermore, MSF prioritizes communication for the provision of assistance to people in need. Regarding letters and parcels, we can request other MSF expatriates to carry them with their own luggage.
Q Do I get a job hand-over when I arrive?
Médecins Sans Frontières' objective is to give you a hand-over in the field. However it may not always be possible depending on the position, project context and OC administrative procedures.
Q How does Médecins Sans Frontières manage safety and security in the field?
MSF provides extensive risk management procedures and security guidelines for every project. You can learn our procedures from this video. Field workers are briefed on the country's security situation before going to the field, and upon arriving at the project site are given specific security briefings and protocols. Adherence to our field guidelines for personal and team conduct and safety is mandatory.
Q Do I get any type of holiday during the course of an assignment?
Generally every 3 months of work you will enjoy one week of holidays. You have the right to the pro rata equivalent of 25 days annual leave, calculated according to the duration of your contract. In addition to annual leave, you may benefit from local in-country public holidays, or additional leave as R&R according to the specific circumstances of your project.
Q What support is available in the field?
In the capital of the country where you will be working there is a team of experienced field workers, the Country Management Team, who will provide you with support throughout your assignment. You will have access to a technical referent of your specific profession who will be able to give you technical support during your assignment. At HQ level there is a team which also provides support to the field teams. MSF has extensive protocols, guidelines and reference material available for you. You can take psychological and social support in the field as well as after the field assignment. Also MSF offers different kinds of training to develop your skills.
Q Do you run any training courses that those considering applying to go on field projects can take before applying?
MSF runs a pre-departure introduction course for candidates with a successful interview, with the potential to depart to the field soon. Successful completion of this training is required before field placement. For those recruited in the capacity of a logistician or administrator, there may also be training of a more technical nature prior to their first field placement. Course lists are generally finalized 4-6 weeks in advance of the course dates. Médecins Sans Frontières does not itself run any training courses that can be taken by intending applicants.
Q Do you recommend any courses that intending applicants can take to improve the likelihood of being selected?
Q What are the career opportunities for Médecins Sans Frontières fieldworkers?
There are many career paths open to our fieldworkers. For example, a medical doctor may do several field placements gaining experience in varying contexts. They may then be offered opportunities to advance their career within the organization by becoming a Medical Team Leader - responsible for medical leadership at the project level, and then Medical Coordinator - responsible for medical leadership at the country level. Non-medical staff may advance their career by becoming a finance, HR or logistic coordinator - responsible for operational leadership at the country level. There are also opportunities to become a Project Coordinator, Technical Referent, or any one of numerous other roles at HQ level. Some people have been working with MSF for over 25 years! It is important to discuss this with your project coordinator or head of mission in the field and with the team at headquarters. You may also discuss it with the Pool Manager of your home section once you've returned from the field. And some people decide after their assignments to work for other NGOs, JICA, ICRC, WHO, UN organizations, government agency etc.
Q Will I be responsible for travel expenses related to Preparation Pre-Departure course or training related to my assignment?
After passing the second screening and being registered in the MSF pool of staff, MSF will cover the transportation cost for Preparation Pre-Departure course and training related to your assignment.
Q What if I am injured or become ill?
MSF will arrange and cover you for health insurance while on assignment. This will continue for up to three months once you return. In the event of medical evacuations, repatriation is also covered.
Q Do you provide any opportunities for volunteers, internships or study tours in the field?
No. We do not accept any study tour or internship because the projects are often in the remote area or in unstable situation.
Q Do you provide any opportunities of volunteers, internships or study in the Tokyo office?
Please see the vacancy at Office vacancies.