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Immigration officer

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Immigration officers make decisions on whether people have the right to visit or stay in the UK.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £21,500 to £36,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 36 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need to meet certain nationality rules to apply for this role. You’ll need to be:

  • a UK national
  • an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) national
  • another national with a right to live and work in the UK

You’ll also usually need to have lived in the UK for 5 years before applying.

The qualifications you'll need will depend on the role you're applying for, but you’ll usually find it useful to have:

  • 2 A levels at grade C (and for some roles, a degree)
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to speak another language

You’ll also need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and you'll need to pass a security check.

UK Visas and Immigration has more information about the work of an immigration officer.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • observation and communication skills
  • the ability to relate to people of all backgrounds and cultures
  • analytical and problem solving skills
  • a confident and assertive manner for making decisions
  • the ability to work under pressure and manage a complex workload
  • IT and report writing skills

3. What you'll do

You'll work towards the government’s aim of securing borders, reducing immigration, cutting crime and protecting national security.

You’ll check the landing cards of non-British and non-European passengers, and assess them to see if they meet the criteria to enter the country. 

If you decide they don’t, your duties may include:

  • interviewing the passenger for more information
  • arranging for them to go back to their point of departure
  • organising a place in a holding area (for people who are claiming asylum)

You may also be involved with:

  • surveillance work to gather information or monitor people
  • visiting and interviewing people who are suspected of not having the right to remain in the UK

4. Salary

Starter: £21,500 to £26,500

Experienced: £30,000 - £36,000 (operational managers)

You may get additional pay for working shifts, weekends or bank holidays.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll work 36 to 40 hours a week on shifts, including nights, weekends and bank holidays.

You’ll mainly work indoors at ports and airports in the UK. You could also be based overseas at entry points to the UK, like the Channel Tunnel rail terminals in France.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to chief immigration officer or higher executive officer.

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Last updated: 10 September 2018