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Immigration Officer


Description

In some parts of the world, people do not have access to employment, or the education they wish to receive. In extreme cases, the country they live in may have poor human rights practices and they wish to live in a country with better opportunities. If a person from another country wishes to stay in or move to the US they will have to speak with an immigration officer.

Immigration officers have the responsibility to inform and advise those wishing to move to or stay in the US of the regulations, policies and procedures they must follow to immigrate to the country. They may also be responsible for admitting people into the country or allowing them to stay, immigration officers can also order the detention or even the deportation of individuals.

Immigration officers may also be called to perform some investigative work in finding and holding people thought to be breaking immigration laws. When needed, they help to deport people by getting authorization from home countries and getting necessary travel documents. Excellent communication skills are a must in this position. It is essential that they are able to treat all different types of people with patience and respect. The ability to speak another language is a great asset to those wanting to work as immigration officers.
 
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  Interests and Skills  
People wanting to work as immigration officers must first have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Immigration officers need to have good judgment and decision-making skills in order to look fairly at each individual case. These workers also requires strong interviewing skills and an attention to detail. Most important in this field is the ability to examine fairly and without bias each individual case.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Determine admissibility of persons seeking entry to the US by examining documents and conducting interviews
  • Grant landed-immigrant status, admit persons or order detention or deportation
  • Locate and apprehend persons presumed to be infringing on immigration laws
  • Assist in the removal of deported people by seeking authorization from receiving countries and securing necessary travel documents
  • Appear as a witness in cases related to immigration appeals
  • All workers in this group deal extensively with the public. The work probably will require extensive use of computerized information systems. Immigration officers often work shifts in isolated locations, and they must wear uniforms. They may be required to work long hours and to meet with clients and violators outside of their main office. As federal employees immigration officers are union members.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Immigration officers are employed by government agencies. These jobs are considered entry-level civil service officer positions. Immigration officers work alone and/or with others in an office setting.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Self-employment as an immigration officer is not possible, as these are specialized functions required by the federal government. There are a few opportunities for an immigration officer to be self-employed as an immigration consultant. There is also the possibility for advancement within the field with additional education such as a university degree and relevant experience dealing with people. With this added education immigration officers can move into senior positions. Other opportunities for advancement exist in relation to their ability to use increasingly specialized computer systems.
 

  Educational Paths  
Although the minimum education required is grade 12, competitive conditions may result in those with more education being hired. Immigration officers usually have a college diploma or a bachelor's degree. Often several years of related administrative or regulatory experience is required. Once these criteria have been met they must complete a specialized goverment training program. After several weeks of training newly hired officers are then placed on the job and given several months of supervised training.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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