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Immigration officer: Job description

Immigration officers deal with the control of people entering the UK via its borders. Working in passport control, they are responsible for checking the right of entry to the UK of all individuals arriving at seaports, airports and via the Channel Tunnel. As well as examining documentation, they may gather intelligence, do case work and, where necessary, use legal powers to detain or remove illegal entrants to the UK.

Immigration officers work for the UK Border Agency (UKBA) , an executive agency of the Home Office , which aims to provide high-quality and non-discriminatory entry controls to the UK in accordance with:

  • immigration law;
  • service standards;
  • the UK's international obligations and the changing needs of the economy.

Typical work activities

The work of an immigration officer can be varied and the specific duties of each day depend on the particular passengers travelling through the ports of entry. Generally duties include:

  • examining passports and recognising forged documentation - this requires excellent observational skills and an understanding of forgery techniques;
  • conducting personal interviews with travellers - working through interpreters where necessary, and objectively evaluating the information presented;
  • keeping up to date with changes in legislation and current affairs;
  • applying immigration legislation, rules and policy;
  • communicating with various agencies, including intelligence units, the police, benefits agencies, helping to organise surveillance;
  • carrying out intelligence-based activities and using knowledge of national and international intelligence;
  • undertaking, with police assistance, immigration visits to identify people with no authority to remain in the UK;
  • deciding on the entry rights of individuals and, where applicable, refusing entry;
  • deciding on whether individuals who have been refused entry may be placed in temporary accommodation in the UK, and making appropriate arrangements, including liaising with and working alongside housing authorities;
  • making arrangements for the removal of those who have entered or attempted to enter the UK in breach of immigration law;
  • writing and presenting case study reports and statistics.
Written by AGCAS editors
May 2012

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