UK Opens up Its Armed Force Recruitment to Commonwealth Citizens

Citizens of Commonwealth countries can apply for roles in the armed forces even if they have not lived in Britain.


The United Kingdom has decided to hire people from India and 52 other Commonwealth countries for its armed forces.

According to a statement by UK’s Ministry of Defense, Britain’s military will increase the number of Commonwealth recruits to 1350 per year, to be introduced over several years.

With the changes in recruitment rule, citizens of Commonwealth countries can apply for British defense vacancies even if they have not lived in Britain, an opportunity that will help Indians. The decision has been made based on the shortage in its ranks.

Earlier, the MoD had a five-year residency requirement for citizens from Commonwealth countries to qualify for recruitment into the armed forces. But this decision has removed the criteria. “All roles and ranks will be open to Commonwealth citizens, from all Commonwealth countries who are aged 18 or over,” the MoD statement said.

Mark Lancaster, Minister of State for the Armed Forces said, “As an outward-looking nation, Britain has always counted on the dedicated service of our friends from the Commonwealth to keep this country safe. So, we’re stepping up the numbers of recruits from the Commonwealth, knowing that they will bring key skills and dedicated service to our military.”

“Their different perspectives will also help us to enhance our cultural understanding, giving us an operational advantage over our adversaries,” the MoD statement quoted Lancaster as saying.

The statement also said, “Of the 1350 new annual recruits, the Army is expecting to hire around 1000 personnel, with the Navy and the RAF expecting to recruit around 300 and 50 respectively.”

The department will also consider the applicants who have applied previously but could not get in due to limited seats, the statement added. “As part of the phased approach, those who have already applied for Army roles but been on hold due to the limited numbers we were able to accept each year, will be given priority. The Royal Navy and RAF will begin recruitment procedures immediately, with Army applications opening in early 2019.”

In recent years, Britain has employed more than 7500 Commonwealth citizens in its ranks, with a wide variety of countries represented, including Fiji, Ghana, South Africa, Jamaica, Australia, and St Vincent, the statement said.

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