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How to become an Immigration Officer in the UK

Updated November 21, 2016

Immigration officers work at all UK entry points to verify people's rights to enter the country. They deal with travellers, immigrants and sometimes have to arrange for people to be sent to a holding area or be deported. There are no formal qualifications required to become an immigration officer, but you will be expected to have a good standard of general education, be able to work under pressure, and have a strong work ethic. Career opportunities in this field are growing and offer much room for promotion and advancement.

Check the national press and the Home Office website for vacancies. If studying for a degree, check the website for fast-stream opportunities. Follow current affairs, and develop intelligence and surveillance skills. Ensure you meet the basic criteria for entering this post: you must be a UK national, live in the UK for at least 5 years with no restrictions, and be between 18 to 63 years old. Be prepared to undergo a Criminal Records (CRB) test and a medical test.

Attend for interview and assessments. Be prepared to be assessed on your decision-making ability, your problem-solving, communication, and conflict management skills. Prepare to be tested on your awareness of equal opportunities practice. Speaking another language is an advantage in the selection process, though not essential. If successful, you will attend a 10-week initial training course, at Manchester, Heathrow, or Gatwick airports, or the port of Dover.

Begin work initially as an assistant immigration officer. Check passports of people entering the country and assist with all aspects of surveillance and intelligence. Liaise with other airport staff, police, and officers from other countries. Look out for promotion opportunities within the immigration services. Attend both in-house and external training courses. Expect to have quite good prospects in this expanding area of work.

Tip

Be prepared to be adaptable. This is varied work, and you may have to relocate to acquire a position.

Warning

Immigration work can be demanding and you will be expected to work unsocial hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Successful assessment, including a written test.
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About the Author

Noreen Wainwright has been writing since 1997. Her work has appeared in "The Daily Telegraph," "The Guardian," "The Countryman" and "The Lady." She has a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from Liverpool Polytechnic and a postgraduate law degree from Staffordshire University.