Do I need a residence in Austria in order for me to apply at Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Austria?

You don’t have to be a legal resident in Austria in order to file your application in this country. Our recruitment area goes well beyond national borders and we welcome applications from Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania and the Republic of Moldova.
Please note: In the course of the application process, you will be invited to our Vienna office to participate in an assessment centre (and a domain-specific test for non-medical professions). The test and the assessment center may take up to two days and we cannot cover any expenses for this period.

Is the Austrian citizenship a requirement for an application at MSF Austria?

No. There are no restrictions with regard to your application at MSF Austria. Your citizenship will become relevant at a later date, when entrance visa are needed for field missions in a particular country.

I live in a country outside the recruitment area of MSF Austria. Where should I send my application?

If your principal place of residence is outside our rercuitment area, please find out which office to contact on the right hand side of this page under "Where to apply".

Which professional groups are needed?

At present, the following professionals are needed for our field missions:

  • Doctors specialized in general medicine, internal medicine, paediatrics, gynaecology and obstetrics, emergency care, surgery (general and trauma), anaesthesia, psychiatry, public health and epidemiology.
  • NO vacancies are presently available for field missions in the following areas: ENT, dermatology, urology, ophthalmology, stomatology, neurology.
  • There are RARE VACANCIES for radiologists and plastic surgeons.
  • Epidemiologists
  • Qualified nursing staff with a general diploma, paediatric and theatre nurses, anaesthesia nurses (male and female). Depending on your work experience and particular project demands (e.g. intensive care, psychiatric care, dialysis), further trainings will be regarded as additional qualifications. There is a high demand for male and female nurses with management skills and qualifications!
  • Midwives
  • Biomedical analysts
  • Pharmacists
  • Psychologists and psychotherapists
  • Specialists for technical areas and logistics with knowledge in electrics, mechanics and civil engineering, as well as specialists for water and hygiene, as well as logistics.
  • Specialists for finance and human resources

Here you find more information on which professional groups were are looking for.

What are the prerequisites for working at MSF Austria?

The following are required if you want to join our team:

  • Completed professional training; completed residency or completed specialist training for doctors.
  • At least two years’ work experience in a relevant area (does not apply to doctors with completed residency or completed specialist training)
  • Experience abroad
  • Foreign language skills
  • At least 6 months‘ availability for the first mission and willingness to be sent on further missions
  • For general doctors and nurses: training in tropical medicine
  • Identification with MSF principles
  • Flexibility
  • Enjoying team work
  • Enjoying / being experienced in team leadership
  • Interest in and respect for different cultures
  • Mental stress resistance
  • Organization and improvisation skills

See more details or look up information for particular professional groups.

Are there vacancies for dentists?

Unfortunately, no.

Are there vacancies for paramedics?

Unfortunately, no.

Are there vacancies for social workers?

Unfortunately, no.

Are there vacancies for journalists/photographers?

Unfortunately, no. On rare occasions, professional photographers may visit one of our projects; for direct inquiries, please contact our Public Information Department (à link).

Are there vacancies for members of the armed forces?

Should this question apply to you, we like to discuss this on an individual basis. It is highly important to avoid any conflicts of interest and to make sure that the above mentioned requirements for working with us are met.

Are there vacancies for medical students, medical residents or assistant doctors?

Unfortunately, no. MSF does not offer any vacancies for medical training. Quite contrary, you will be involved in the further training of local staff during field missions, depending on the type of work and your professional skills. As a medical specialist, you may even be the only expert on the spot. In many regions in which we operate, local doctors are used to covering several medical fields at the same time and will highly appreciate your expertise.

In addition, entry visa and work permits are required in most of the countries in which field missions are organized and the local administration is obliged to produce diploma certificates, such as a diploma in a special medical field.

I’d like to write my diploma/doctoral thesis on a relevant topic. Are there any research opportunities in the projects organized by MSF?

Unfortunately, no. However, we do appreciate your interest in topics with regard to humanitarian aid and will try to support your scientific work by answering specific questions about one of our projects or recommending any relevant literature. Please contact our office directly: [email protected]

I am a student. Are there vacancies for internships at MSF Austria?

Unfortunately, no. We do not have training opportunities for staff going on field missions. On the contrary, you will be involved in further training of local staff during field missions, depending on the type of work and your professional skills and qualifications.

In addition, entry visa and work permits are required in most of the countries in which field missions are organized and the local administration is obliged to produce diploma certificates to certify completed professional training.

I am not sure whether my qualifications fit into one of the areas for which you are seeking experts. How can I find out?

Please come and see us at one of the information evening that we organize on a regular basis or attend one of our online webinars. Please see our website for exact dates and further details. You will learn about tasks in the field and we will be happy to answer your questions. In addition, there are further platforms you can visit to picture everyday life and challenges during field missions like our international blog site, facebook page or youtube channel.

How many applications do you receive per year and how many candidates are finally being recruited?

On average, 180 candidates apply for field missions each year, 40% of which are being invited to our assessment centre. An average of 74% of these applicants are being recruited which means that approximately 25% of all applicants will eventually be included in our hr pool for field missions.

How can apply for a field mission?

Here you find all details on our recruitment process.

How long does it normally take from filing an application to actually being sent on a mission?

Depending on your qualifications and current project needs, positive completion of the assessment centre may result in a rather prompt dispatch, but it may also take up to several months. It is therefore advisable to file your application three to six months before you will actually be available to be sent on a mission.

Please note that when it comes to humanitarian aid, vacancies are difficult to plan ahead. It may therefore sometimes take a while until a suitable vacancy comes up; your flexibility is often put to the test during the preparation phase prior to your mission. 

What exactly is meant by experience abroad?

Arriving at one of our projects in a crisis-stricken region is a shock for many. Apart from having to cope with professional challenges, communicating in a foreign language and a foreign environment is a major personal challenge. Oftentimes, contacts with friends and family at home are very restricted. Prior experiences in a foreign language and a foreign country are therefore extremely helpful to start your mission with a positive approach!

In your application form, you may list private and professional stays in foreign countries. Each of these experiences that has led you abroad as a back packer, exchange student, volunteer, civil servant, congress participant etc. will be relevant for your application at MSF.

Travel and work experience in Asia, Africa and Latin America are of particular importance for working with us, as they reflect encounters with people from different cultures, perhaps living under simple conditions etc.

What does relevant work experience mean?

As described above, as an MSF expat you will be involved in the further training of local staff, depending on the type of work and your professional skills and qualifications. Your expertise will be particularly appreciated in complex situations or when quick decisions are needed. It is therefore a must that you have had the opportunity to put your theoretical knowledge into practice. A minimum of two years’ work experience is required in the professional field you wish to apply for.

For general practitioners, the period of residency will count as relevant work experience, as will the period of special training for medical specialists. General practitioners may therefore be dispatched upon completing their residency, medical specialists after their specialist examination.

I have completed professional training, but do not work in this field any more. May I still go on a mission? 

Professional experience that is relevant for applying at MSF should have been gained and/or practiced no longer than two years ago.

What does a course for tropical medicine look like? Where is it offered?

Here is a list of courses for tropical medicine.

Which level do I need with regard to my language skills?

The minimum level for English and French is B1, however, we recommend language training to reach a B2 level in at least one of these languages prior to submitting your application. Have a look at the international description of language levels and assess your own language skills here.

There are numerous online self-assessments that we highly recommend. One example for French is: www.languagelevel.com/french.

Except for English and French, which languages are needed at MSF?

Any additional foreign language skills are helpful. Apart from English and French, Arabic is highly beneficial. For particular projects, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish are important.

May I apply for a particular country? Can I choose a particular country for my mission? 

At MSF, you will not be able to apply for a particular country or project. Mission staff is matched to a project according to needs. Qualifications (professional field of work, languages, restrictions) also play a major role. We expect our mission staff to be extremely flexible so that we can account for individual project needs.

Will I be able to take my partner and children on a mission?

In general, it is not possible to be accompanied by your partner if you are leaving on missionfor the first time. Both living conditions and security issues will not allow for somebody to join you. Even if you and your partner apply at the same time, being sent on a mission together will not be possible since staff is matched to projects according to particular needs only. Should you pursue a career with MSF, there are a couple of vacancies for coordination positions where your family will be able to join you.

How long does a mission take?

For your first mission, you should be available for a period of six to nine months. Exceptions are made for medical specialists, namely surgeons, anaesthetists, gynaecologists, obstetricians and theatre nurses: the period of their first mission may start from three months onwards, periods of subsequent missions do vary to a large extent.

What does „willingness for further missions“ mean?

We expect applicants for field missions to commit to minimum total period of 12 months. If you were sent on your first mission for six months, we expect you to go on a (or several) further missions at a later date.

Is there a minimum or maximum age limit for mission staff at MSF?

No, there is neither a minimum nor a maximum age limit to be able to leave on missions. It is important that you meet the requirements and feel fit enough to work in the field. Please consider both climate and living conditions. The only restriction is the age limit for work permits that a number of countries have issued.

Will I be contracted and insured by MSF during my mission?

Yes. If you are a legal resident in Austria, you will receive a work contract in compliance with national legal regulations that also cover social security. If you are not a legal resident, the Operational Centre in charge will issue a work contract and you will be responsible for taking care of social security coverage in your home country. In both cases, you will be covered by an international health insurance scheme which remains valid for another three months after you have completed your mission.

What about salaries?

The minimum starting salary is at 1047,25 € gross/month in the first 12 months of your service on missions. After that period, your prior work experience and the position you will hold during a mission will be accounted for.

What is covered by the insurance?

If you are a legal resident in Austria, you will receive a work contract in compliance with national legal regulations which also includes social security coverage (Vienna Regional Health Insurance Scheme - WGKK). In addition (and this also includes everyone who does not have a residence in Austria), MSF will arrange for you to be covered by an international health insurance scheme, which will bear any costs that are not covered by the Vienna Regional Health Insurance. Insurance coverage remains valid until three months after you have completed your MSF mission.

What happens if I fall ill during a mission?

Medical care will be provided directly in the field or in the nearest hospital (selected for mission staff). Any treatment costs will be borne by the health insurance. If necessary for medical reasons, you will be repatriated to a European hospital or your place of residence. Again, such measure is also covered by the insurance.

Are there any costs that I have to bear myself if I go on a mission?

Any costs incurred by visa, required vaccinations, insurance, transportation and accommodation will be borne by MSF. Meals and daily consumer goods, as well as eating out occasionally, are generally covered by the daily allowances (per diem). No further costs will be incurred; you will solely be in charge of holiday arrangements.

Will I be entitled to go on holiday?

Yes. You are entitled to take leave in accordance with legal requirements. Many projects have regulations for holiday periods in terms of time and duration. During a nine-month mission, for example, a one-week holiday ought to be taken every three months. Details should be arranged with superiors directly in the field.

What about living conditions for mission staff?

During emergency missions, you may be accommodated in a large tent that is shared with several expats. We always strive to provide a minimum level of privacy our expats whenever possible. In regular projects and as a rule, you will be provided with a private room or tukul (one room little hut). Kitchen, bath room and common rooms are mostly shared with fellow expats. Catering and household work (including doing the laundry) are generally carried out by domestic workers.

What about safety on missions?

Although we acknowledge that risks cannot be ruled out completely, we do whatever we can to manage and minimize possible hazards by applying strict safety protocols. Safety of MSF staff is of utmost importance.

Are there any vacancies for people with chronic diseases?

The standards in terms of living conditions and medical care in the countries we work in can hardly be compared to the ones most applicants are used to. In addition, the climate and related consequences (e.g. storage of medication at certain temperatures) is difficult to manage in a number of projects. A chronic disease may therefore be incompatible with the living conditions prevalent on our missions. MSF therefore likes to reserve the right to discuss this on an individual basis.

Are there any vacancies for people with handicaps?

The standards in terms of living conditions and medical care in the countries we work in can hardly be compared to the ones most applicants are used to. Related consequences (e.g. lack of accessibility) are difficult to manage in a number of projects. Sending people on field missions with special needs may therefore be difficult or impossible (lack of mobility may pose a safety risk). MSF therefore likes to reserve the right to discuss this on an individual basis.

Does MSF offer any career opportunities?

Yes. Upon returning from their first field work, we encourage staff members to consider further missions and offer a whole range of training opportunities to this end. You may also gain experience by accepting different positions during your stay abroad. Here are some examples and opportunities.

Does MSF offer further training?

If you wish to pursue a career at MSF or plan to be sent on several missions, we have a number of further training opportunities for you, including professional training in the medical field as well as team management trainings, language courses etc.

What kind of information will be given at MSF information events?

You will receive general information about our organization, our principles, the regions we work in etc. Moreover, you will learn about the requirements you have to meet if you wish to work in the field and the professionals that we seek. Finally, we will let you know about our offers and give details about the information process. And we are of course happy to answer any questions you have.

Are there other possibilities to obtain information about MSF?

We operate a number of platforms where you can find further information:

At the international level:

You may also like to visit one of our information events or participate in one of our webinars.

Does MSF Austria offer any vacancies? Where can I find them?

Yes, vacancies keep coming up which we advertise here.

I still have questions. Is there anybody I can contact?

Should you require further information about working with MSF, please contact us via e-mail: [email protected]