Assistant Immigration Officer

The Job and What's Involved

Assistant immigration officers help to maintain effective immigration control by checking that people are legally allowed to enter and stay in the UK.

As an assistant immigration officer (AIO) your duties would include:

  • Checking passports and work permits.
  • Interviewing people entering the UK.
  • Taking fingerprints.
  • Helping immigration officers with surveillance work.
  • Arranging to remove people who are not allowed to stay in the UK.
  • Issuing forms and carrying out clerical work.
  • Dealing with airlines and shipping companies.
  • Handling telephone enquiries.

You would work closely with immigration officers and the police.

You would work 36 hours a week, usually in a shift pattern that includes nights, weekends and public holidays.

Some of your work would be office-based, some would be in the arrivals hall of an airport or port. You may travel around the country if taking part in surveillance work.

Assistant immigration officers earn around £15,000 to £16,500 a year. Immigration officers start on around £21,000 to £22,000.

There are extra allowances for working shifts and unsocial hours, and for officers working in the London area.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

You do not need particular qualifications for most jobs in the Border & Immigration Agency. However, when you apply for a job you will:

  • Complete an application form, demonstrating your skills and life experience.
  • Take a written test, examining your level of literacy and numeracy.
  • Need to pass various selection tests and an interview.

For many AIO jobs, you will also be asked to pass a health and fitness test and hold a full driving licence.

For most jobs you will need to be between age 18 and 64½, and a British citizen with no restrictions on your stay in the UK (you will normally need to have lived in the UK for the last five years also). You will be security checked for all jobs.

You will find it helpful to have experience of working with the public. You may also find it useful to speak other languages, but this is not essential.

Education and Training

You will have an initial training period at either Heathrow or Gatwick Airport, or the port of Dover. Your training will be a mixture of classroom-based and practical work.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Ongoing in-house training will be available throughout your career. The Agency may also pay for you to take external part-time courses related to your work, for example to develop computer skills or language skills.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An assistant immigration officer needs:

  • A confident and assertive manner.
  • The ability to apply rules fairly.
  • Calmness under pressure.
  • The ability to handle difficult situations.
  • Good judgement.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • The ability to relate to people of all backgrounds and cultures.
  • Report writing skills.

Your Long Term Prospects

There is a clear promotion route from AIO to immigration officer, and possibly from there into higher management posts.

Get Further Information

UK Border Agency

Civil Service Jobs Online
No central telephone number for information, see website for contacts for individual departments.

IELTS for UKVI is an official UK government approved English language test that can be used in support of a UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application -

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