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Public Sector & Defence careers

Borders, Immigration & Asylum

What do borders, immigration & asylum staff do?

Borders, immigration and asylum fall under the remit of the Home Office and, therefore, the Home Secretary. The overall aim of this subsector is to ensure that the United Kingdom fulfils its obligations under international law and facilitates the Government’s policies regarding immigration.

A huge number of graduate jobs are available within this area of the public sector, ranging from border agents and civil servants who work within the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA), to police, social workers and lawyers.

What exactly will I be enforcing?

The UK has a number of national and international obligations regarding immigration and asylum. For our international reputation and the values we collectively represent, it is important that we adhere to them.

Our commitment to the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights means that the UK grants asylum to those people who are trying to escape persecution in their own country. The UKBA and everyone that works in this area of the public sector must ensure that protection is extended to those who need our help and ensure that those who falsify or make bogus claims are not granted asylum and are returned to their place of origin.

In addition, the UKBA is responsible for assessing immigration claims. Immigrants, unlike asylum seekers, are looking to live and work in the UK. Consequently, the UKBA must assess claims and decide whether or not people entering the UK are doing so legitimately.

What do I need to get into this field?

The UKBA is the main government department that oversees our national border. Border forces can be found at all entry points to the United Kingdom, whether it’s via an airport, a railway station or a port. They have to check vehicles and travel documents to make sure that the people who are entering the UK are doing so legally.

The range of occupations in this sector is huge. The most obvious occupations are the UKBA immigration officials who ask for your passport as you leave and enter the country. However, there are many other roles you can take on in this area, from administrators, doctors and psychologists, to civil servants, social workers and the police. All of these people work together to maintain the integrity of our borders.

Working in this subsector is challenging. It can be both emotionally and physically demanding. Additionally, many of the positions in this subsector endow individuals with the power of the state.

Consequently, this area of the public sector requires individuals who are comfortable with high levels of responsibility. Furthermore, you will need to pay great attention to detail, be extremely well-organised and have a pragmatic approach to tackling challenges under pressure.

If you tick all these boxes and you’re interested in maintaining the security of our borders then this could be the sector for you.