Immigration officer

Security, uniformed and protective services

Career outlook for immigration officer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would check that people who arrive in the UK are allowed to come here. You’d make sure that people who come from abroad obey the rules for living and working in this country.

You’d work at airports and seaports and check the landing cards of non-British and non-European passengers. You’d find out why they are visiting and how long they intend to stay. You’d apply the rules fairly so when someone is entitled to come here you would approve their passport and any work documents.

If you decide a person does not qualify to enter the country, you could:

  • Interview them to get more information
  • Arrange for them to go back to their point of departure
  • Organise a place in a holding area, for example, when a person is claiming asylum

You could also check when you suspect someone has stayed longer than they are allowed or has not stuck to the rules of their visa.

You might:

  • Organise surveillance
  • Carry out intelligence-based activities
  • Visit and interview people who are suspected of having no right to remain in the UK

You’d calmly and clearly explain the situation to people who may be distressed and angry when they are told that they are not allowed to stay.

You’d also check people who are leaving the country.

You would work for Border Force - an agency of the UK Home Office - and liaise closely with the police.

Working conditions


You would work between 36 and 40 hours a week as a full-time immigration officer. This would involve shifts including nights, weekends and bank holidays.


Your work would mainly take place indoors at ports and airports in the UK.


You could also be based at overseas transport facilities that act as entry points to the UK, for example the Channel Tunnel rail terminals in France.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Observation
  • Questioning
  • Researching
  • Empathising
  • Attention to detail
  • Making decisions

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


Although there are no set qualification requirements, applicants will usually need qualifications at SCQF level 6 or above and for some roles you will need a degree (SCQF level 9/10).

The degree can usually be in any subject, but qualifications and experiences involving languages, management and organisation and interaction with the public would be of value.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most employers)
  • Maths (required by most employers)
  • Modern languages
  • Administration
  • IT
  • Social studies, such as geography or modern studies

You will also need

  • Security clearance for all posts
  • To be at least 18 years of age
  • to be a British citizen or British subject with no restrictions on your stay in the UK, a national of a state in the European Economic Area or a Commonwealth citizen with no restrictions on your stay
  • To have lived in Britain continuously for the last three years

You may have to pass a medical test.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show:

  • an interest in people's rights and the ability to communicate well with people, such as a BTEC Diploma in Public Services,
  • using other languages, such as a SQA  Modern Language for Life and Work Award (SCQF level 3/4),