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Immigration officer

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Summary of occupation

Immigration officers work for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, monitoring and controlling the entry of people into Australia. They work at airports, ports and in offices and processing centres throughout Australia. Immigration 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:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An immigration 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

Immigration officers 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. Immigration 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

Inspectors and regulatory officers, which include immigration officers, can expect to earn approximately $1100.00 per week (full-time and before tax), depending on their level of experience and place of employment.

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Tools and technologies

Immigration officers 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

There are three levels of entry into customs and border protection – as a trainee, graduate trainee and general recruitment. As a trainee you can work without formal qualifications as you will receive training on the job. Successful applicants will undertake a six-month training program before becoming a customs and border protection officer. To become a graduate training officer you need to first complete a 3 year or equivalent bachelor degree at university. For entry you usually need to gain your WACE at Stages 2 and 3. Contact your preferred institution about courses of interest. On appointment, graduate training officers are introduced to a diverse range of work within the organisation through an intensive 12-month training program.

General recruitment entry employs individuals for specific tasks based upon the previous experience and qualifications of the applicant. 

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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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