The role of an Immigration Officer is to keep the borders of Britain safe from those who would try to breach them illegally. They monitor the people who are arriving at and leaving the country, at key entry points such as Heathrow Airport and Dover docks.
The job entails checking the landing cards of non-British and non-EU citizens to make sure that they are not here to illegally seek refuge, as well as the signing off of any passports of people you feel are OK to enter.
You may have to work with the Border Force and with representatives of the Police and the Civil Service in order to maximize your efficiency and keep the borders as secure as possible.
Salary & benefits
Immigration officers tend to earn between £21,000 and £26,000 per year, although for senior managers this can rise above £30,000. Furthermore, overtime is paid well and there is a further amount given to people who work in London due to the economic climate.
There is also scope for moving abroad and monitoring the British border in other countries, which allows for travelling the world and experiencing a different way of life.
You would expect to work between 36 and 40 hours a week if you were to become a full-time immigration officer. Shift work is common, and working nights, evenings and bank holidays is an issue that is associated with the job.
Officers may be placed across several locations in the UK and may move offices once every few years on transfers and short-term postings.
All officers are bound by civil service rules, which restrict activities that compromise or conflict with their responsibilities.
There are no formal entry requirements for the role, although most Officers are educated to A-Level standard or higher. You will need a clean criminal record, a clean medical history and a British Citizenship with no restriction on how long you can stay in the country.
The force loves foreign languages, so if you speak a different tongue don't keep that quiet at the interview stage! An assessment centre, where you’ll be tested on your decision making and judgement, is part of the process.
Another option is to apply through the Civil Service Fast Stream for graduates, but there is no guarantee that you will be posted in the immigration department.
Training & progression
As a new recruit, you must undergo a nine-week period of training at one of the UK’s main transport hubs – Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester Airports or at the Port of Dover. This will consist of five weeks learning the theory in a classroom, before four weeks of mentored practical work under supervision.
As a part of the Civil Service, there will be plenty of opportunities for progression and movement over the course of an Immigration Officer Career.