Immigration officer: job description

Immigration officers check whether people arriving at UK borders are eligible to enter the country.

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What do immigration officers do? Qualifications and training | Typical employers | Key skills

Immigration officers (or immigration enforcement officers) use their knowledge of the law to check whether people arriving in the UK are allowed to enter. They also decide whether visitors are entitled to stay.

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • observing passengers passing through passport control areas
  • examining passports and visas
  • conducting interviews
  • working on surveillance operations
  • organising for people to move to a holding area or to another country if they're not entitled to be in the UK
  • collecting statistics
  • writing reports

Typical employers of immigration officers

Immigration officers are employed by UK Visas and Immigration within the Civil Service, and are based at UK ports, airports and the Channel Tunnel.

Vacancies are advertised on the Civil Service website.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into becoming an immigration officer for both graduates and school leavers.

There are no set qualification requirements for becoming an immigration officer, although having qualifications in languages or legal studies could be useful.

To work for the Civil Service, you'll need to be a British national or have dual nationality with one part being British. Immigration officers also need to pass security clearance and medical checks.

Key skills for immigration officers

Immigration officers need to be assertive and have confidence in their own judgment while being fair and impartial.

Other essential skills and qualities include:

  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills when talking to people with limited English language ability
  • the ability to work under pressure
  • a good eye for detail
  • the ability to work in a team.

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