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Immigration officer (Border Force officer)

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Summary of occupation

The role of immigration officers is now performed by Border Force officers. They work at airports, ports and in offices and processing centres throughout Australia. Border Force officers examine travellers' passports on arrival in Australia, checking for forged documents. They also assess applications for working and student visas, permanent residency and claims for asylum. As part of the assessment process they may be required to conduct personal interviews with passengers or visa applicants, using an interpreter where necessary.

ANZSCO description: Examines and assesses the entry of people from other countries, administers visas and residency applications according to immigration legislation, rules and policies, and, where necessary, uses legal powers to detain and remove illegal entrants.
Alternative names:
Specialisations:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A Border Force officer needs:

  • excellent communication skills
  • excellent interpersonal skills
  • to be respectful and understanding of a range of different cultures
  • good analytical and research skills
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
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Working conditions

Border Force officers working in immigration typically work at immigration offices and processing centres or international airports around Australia. There may also be limited opportunities to work overseas in Australian embassies and consulates. They have a high level of contact with people from a range of cultural backgrounds, with varying levels of English language skills. The work can be stressful when dealing with difficult or complicated cases, and immigration officers must remain calm. Border Force officers working at airports and other points of entry to Australia may be required to work shifts, which can include nights, weekends and public holidays.

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Salary details

Trainee and cadet Border Force officers can expect to earn between $816 and $904 per week ($42 419 and $47 004 per year). Once their training period ends, a Border Force officer can expect to earn between at least $1 153 per week ($59 933 per year), depending on their duties and level of experience.

As a Border Force officer gains experience and progresses through the ranks their pay rate increases.

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Tools and technologies

Border Force officers working in immigration use standard office equipment to research and process visa applications. They are required to keep detailed records detailing the reasons why an application was approved or denied, and so will have to be familiar with departmental record keeping and archiving practices. Immigration officers working at airports, monitoring the arrival of international visitors, may use surveillance equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a Border Force officer within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) you must pass the Australian Border Force recruitment process and complete training at the Australian Border Force College.

Applicants must be an Australian citizen, at least 18 years old and meet medical, fitness, aptitude and psychometric requirements for the role.

You must also obtain an Employee Suitability Clearance from the DIBP and a minimum Baseline Commonwealth security clearance from the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency.

Successful applicants are required to attend a six month training program at the Australian Border Force College. Upon completion the training, you become a probationary officer and participate in a series of work placements for six months. After successfully completing your work placement you will then become a Border Force officer.

Contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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