Immigration officers and assistant officers work in the Civil Service, for UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), part of the Home Office (formerly UK Border Agency). They deal with people entering the UK either temporarily or permanently and enforce immigration laws.
You would work in a specific role, such as Asylum Operations Decision Maker or Resettlement Case Worker.
Throughout different roles, you could be:
- processing applications for different visa types, such as work, residency, asylum, student or family
- considering applications for citizenship for those who wish to settle in the UK permanently
- dealing with large amounts of information in order to make decisions
- interviewing people to check their reasons for visiting the UK and how long they intend to stay
- writing explanatory notes on decisions and issuing visa refusal or grant notices
- making decisions on applications from employers and educational establishments who wish to sponsor immigrants
- managing appeals from unsuccessful applicants
- keeping records, writing reports and giving evidence in court.
As an assistant immigration officer your starting salary would be £24,336 a year. After completing the pathway training you would progress to Immigration Officer and your salary would increase to £26,866 a year. There is extra allowances for working shifts and unsocial hours.
- You would usually be based at a port or airport around the UK, including Cardiff, Croyden, Glasgow, Hounslow, Leeds, Liverpool and Solihull.
- You may need to be prepared to live in any location in the UK.
- You would usually work a 37 hour week, but may sometimes do overtime depending on workload and deadlines.
- Flexible hours and part time contracts are available.
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- You must be a British citizen, a national of a state in the European Economic Area or a Commonwealth citizen with no restrictions on your stay. You must normally have been resident in the UK for five years before you apply.
- Qualifications required for an assistant officer are 5 subjects at National 5, including English and Maths.
- To enter at officer level you must have either 3 Highers or 2 Advanced Highers or equivalent qualifications (including formal or vocational training), or significant relevant experience.
- The application process varies depending on the specific role you apply for, but generally includes: an online application; assessments or aptitude tests; and an interview.
- You need to have security clearance for all posts.
- You must be at least 18 at the time of taking up a position.
- You may have to pass a medical test.
- It is helpful if you can speak a foreign language.
- A driving licence may be necessary.
Job vacancies are advertised in the press and on the Civil Service jobs website.
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What Does it Take?
You need to be:
- objective and analytical
- polite, firm, impartial and fair
- decisive and good at solving problems
- confident in following standard procedures and in making difficult or unpopular decisions
- able to handle a heavy and varied workload
- able to work under pressure, for example when dealing with people who may be aggressive or frightened
- able to work as part of a team or on your own
- smartly presented
- professional and customer-focused.
You should have:
- excellent observation skills
- excellent communication skills
- excellent organisational skills
- strong personal ethics
- IT skills.
- Different roles have different training pathways, but usually include stages of classroom based learning, on the job training, mentoring and monitoring.
- Training may be held at any of the offices around the UK.
- Further practical training is on the job under the supervision of experienced officers.
- You must acquire a good working knowledge of immigration legislation and rules.
- After training there is one year’s probation.
- You will be offered the opportunity to develop skills through a range of internal and external development activities.
- With experience and ability you may be able to become a chief immigration officer and then move into management positions.
- You may also be able to move to other departments within the Civil Service, or to related work within the private sector or local government.
- You could go on to become an Arrest Trained Immigration Officer working with (ICE) the Immigration, Compliance and Enforcement team.
UK Visas and Immigration has a workforce of 7,500 people based in locations around the UK and abroad.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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