Immigration Officer

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will 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 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 country


You’ll need:

  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (leadership skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • thinking and reasoning skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an immigration officer in the United Kingdom, you typically need a combination of specific GCSE subjects and qualifications. The exact requirements may vary depending on the specific job posting and the organization you’re applying to, but here are the general guidelines:

  1. English Language: A good command of English is essential for this role, as you will need to communicate effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds. You will usually need at least a GCSE in English Language at grade C/4 or above.
  2. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills may be required for certain aspects of the job, such as processing paperwork and understanding immigration regulations. A GCSE in Mathematics at grade C/4 or above is typically sufficient.
  3. Other Subjects: While English and Mathematics are often the minimum requirements, it’s a good idea to have a well-rounded set of GCSEs, as this can enhance your overall qualifications and competitiveness. Subjects like Citizenship, History, Geography, or a foreign language can be relevant and demonstrate your interest in immigration-related matters.

Requirements vary around the world, but usually you’ll need to:

  • be a citizen or permanent resident of the country in which you’ll be working, and/or have the right to live and work in that country
  • be a fluent speaker of the most commonly spoken language in that country
  • be a minimum age (often it’s 18)
  • pass a criminal records background check, security check, and sometimes other checks on things like your medical history, education, and employment background

Post School

You may also find it useful to have:

  • a degree in a relevant subject like criminology, law, or international relations
  • work experience in a customer service role
  • the ability to speak another language
  • a driving license

Once you’ve applied, you may then need to:

  • pass an entrance exam and/or interviews
  • complete a training programme

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 36 to 40 hours per week. Your working hours will usually be in shifts which change week by week, but can include evenings, nights, and weekends.

You’ll mainly work indoors at an airports, port, or border post. There may be some travel involved, as you could also be based overseas at entry points to your home country.

You’ll have lots of face-to-face discussions with the public, some of which may be challenging if you have to deny a passenger entry.

Career Path & Progression:

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