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So you want to work in Immigration?

The immigration industry is concerned with ensuring that the Australian immigration laws and regulations are adhered to. Immigration officers may work at airports and ports, checking the passports and visas of people entering Australia and establishing whether the visitor meets the criteria for entry. In this instance they may observe passengers, examine passports, conduct interviews, take fingerprints, carry out surveillance and organise the removal of passengers who do not qualify for entry.

Immigration officers also work at offices and processing centres around around Australia. They assess applications for student and working visas, permanent visas and claims for asylum.

There are also limited opportunities for immigration officials to work overseas in Australian consulates or embassies. All immigration officers have a high level of contact with people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, with varying degrees of English language skills. When dealing with difficult or complicated cases the work can be stressful and demanding and it is important for immigration officers to remain calm.

Since the job is often linked to borders, ports and specific processing locations, workers may need to relocate. Shift work including nights and weekends is usually involved, although working hours are sometimes flexible.

High level roles in immigration are also available at the policy development and program management level.

Types of jobs in the Immigration industry include:

  • Policy development
  • Immigration officer
  • Program management
  • Intelligence and security
  • Ministerial support
  • Legal
  • Administration

Personal Skills

Five key skills that will help you score a job in the Immigration industry:

  • Assertive with confidence in your own judgement
  • Fair and impartial
  • Quick-thinking and observant
  • The ability to be firm yet polite
  • The ability to work well within a team

Interview and Job Hunting tips

Preparing for the Interview

  • Research the position and organisation prior to the interview. Find out as much as you can about what your role will entail and prepare to discuss how your skills and experience match the tasks of the job.
  • There may be security or access requirements to get on site so make sure you look into that and take it into account when planning how long you will need to get there on time.
  • Be prepared to talk about a time you had to advise people on complex guidelines or regulations.
  • Familiarise yourself with any current issues in immigration as well as current policy and legislation as it is likely these will be discussed in the interview.