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How to become an Immigration Officer

Immigration Officer

What does a Immigration Officer do?

Immigration officers are stationed at every point of entry into the United Kingdom to check and monitor people who are arriving and leaving. The job is often one you train for on getting a position however some people like to up their chances of being offered a role by taking an immigration services training course. Officers check the landing cards that are required for non-British and non- European passengers, and establish the purpose of their visit and the length of stay.

If everything is in order officers then allow entry to the country, check and endorse passports and any documents relating to working in this country, and ensure that any other forms that may be required are completed.

If officers are not satisfied that passengers qualify for entry, they interview them for more information, arrange for them to be sent back to their point of departure if they are illegal immigrants, or arrange for them to be sent to a holding area if they claim political asylum.

The work also involves organising surveillance and carrying out intelligence-based activities. Officers may also have to undertake immigration visits to identify people who have no authority to remain in the UK.

What's the working environment like working as a Immigration Officer?

Most immigration officers work shifts including nights, weekends and public holidays. A minimum of 36 hours a week is usual.

Most officers work indoors.

What does it take to become a Immigration Officer?

To be an immigration officer you should:
  • be confident
  • be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • have a responsible attitude to work
  • be reliable
  • have excellent organisational and communications skills
  • be able to work well with people
  • have report-writing skills.

Immigration Officer Career Opportunities

There has been a large expansion programme within the Immigration Service and it is still growing. Immigration officers are based at over 50 airports and seaports around the UK and at the Channel Tunnel. Officers must be prepared to serve anywhere in the UK. Other positions in the service include assistant immigration officer, administrative officer and executive officer.

As with most positions in the civil service, there is a clear promotion route and length of service and suitable annual assessments are important factors.

Immigration officers can either be promoted to the position of chief immigration officer or they can move into the general grades for promotion to higher executive officer.

Further information

Find National Border Security training near you

Courses to help you become a Immigration Officer