The UK Border Force, now part of the Home Office, is responsible for guarding the UK’s borders. Immigration Officers (IOs) and Assistant Immigration Officers (AIOs) are based at airports all over the country with over 25,000 employees in the department. The two main entry routes are for immigration officers and assistant immigration officers and this article will outline the application stages. Although the process for Immigration Officers and Assistant Immigration Officers can be similar, pay attention to the differences pointed out below.
Due to the large number of applications the UKBF receives each year, the application process can be lengthy, with large spans of time between stages.
It is important to familiarise yourself with the UKBF competencies as they come up on both the online application and in the interview during the assessment day.
|Assistant Immigration Officer Competencies||Immigration Officer Competencies|
|Leading and managing myself and others||Leadership and managing myself and others: leading on equality and diversity|
|Working with others: develop and maintain good working relationships||Working with others: develop and maintain good working relationships|
|Working with others to focus on customers||Analysis and Use Of Evidence: identifying Options and making well judged decisions|
|Effective communication||Effective communication|
|Analysis and use of evidence ‐ gathering and managing information|
The UKBF application for both Immigration Officers and Assistant Immigration Officers is the same. You are asked to provide basic details such as id, address, previous work experience and schooling. In addition you will be asked competency questions to which you need to provide answers from your own experience. Before applying, make sure that you meet the criteria necessary to work for the UKBF. Besides academic achievements, the UKBF can only hire candidates with certain work capabilities,citizenship status, and candidate who lived outside of the UK for a substantial amount of time.
After finishing the online application, applicants to the assistant officers program may be asked to sit a UKBF Sift Test. This test sifts through the thousands of applications in order to get the best and brightest from the bunch. Find out more about this test on our Civil Service Sift Test Page.
Following a successful application (and a sift test for Assistant Immigration Officers), you will be invited to take the UKBF Aptitude tests. The following table outlines which tests you can expect to encounter depending on the job you have applied for.
|Assistant Immigration Officer||Immigration Officer|
|Assistant Immigration Officer Verbal Test||Verbal Test|
|Checking Test||Numerical Test|
The Assistant Immigration Officer verbal reasoning test assesses your language capabilities through a series of multiple choice questions. You are given a passage, up to three paragraphs long, with 16 questions to answer in 8 minutes. With only half a minute to answer each question, you must be able to work quickly and efficiently. Practicing questions of this sort is the best way to build your skills.
The Immigration Officer verbal reasoning test examines your grasp of written language. You are provided with a passage and asked to answer multiple choice questions. The test is 12 minutes long with 24 questions to answer. Learning to quickly analyse the text and familiarising yourself with the type of questions is a great way to prepare yourself.
The checking test for Assistant Immigration Officers looks at your speed and accuracy when finding errors in numerical data and written material. These tests require a high amount of focus and concentration and with 16 questions to be answered in 10 minutes, time constraints add to the difficulty. Quick reading and good analyzing skills are essential for this test. You can train and hone your skills with our practice checking tests.
The numerical test for Immigration Officers assess your numerical capabilities. You are tested for various types of numerical capabilities, including ratios, percentages and basic maths skills. You are given 24 questions to answer in 12 minutes so you must work quickly and efficiently.
The UKBF assessment centre is an important part of the application process as it is where the assessors can meet you and test your skills in person. Prior to your arrival at the centre, you will be given a list of 6 competencies. Chose two of these competencies and think of examples of when you have exemplified them. This will be part of your competency based interview.
Written Exercise - This is a timed exercise in which you receive a work-related scenario and accompanying information. Your assignment is to write what would you do in the given scenario. For example, you may be given scenario where you work for a recruitment agency and an employer is looking for workers. The employer has previously received low-quality applications from your agency and this is your last chance to impress them. You are given information such as CVs and cover letters and have to sort through those you think can be suitable and those that are not. There is a lot of information to sort through quickly so you must have sharp analysis skills. In your written response, you must explain the conclusion you have come to and why you believe it is the best one. Any added recommendations you give will be considered by the assessors. As this type of exercise can be unfamiliar and there are time constraints, it is imperative that you practice written scenarios beforehand to ensure success.
Competency Based Interview - As mentioned above, during the competency based interview you will need to give an example of a time when you exemplified two of the listed competencies. Note that the competencies are not necessarily worded as they were on the application but you are welcome to use the same examples. For example, you might be asked to tell about a time when you helped to build capacity in others to support their development needs. The best technique for answering these questions is by using the STAR Method.
Role Play - You will be given information regarding your role and proceed to act out a difficult situation with an actor. The role play lasts approximately 10 minutes and you are watched by 2-3 assessors. Afterwards, there is a debriefing session where you are asked to explain why and how you made your choices.
The UK Border Force can be an interesting and exciting place to work. However, with a long and rigorous application process and thousands of applicants, it is important to prepare yourself in order to stand out from the crowd. We hope this article has given the information and preparation resources you need to be successful on your journey to the UK Border Force!