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UK opens up armed forces recruitment to Indians and nationals from the Commonwealth

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The on Monday announced a relaxation of recruitment criteria to allow nationals to apply for jobs in its armed forces to meet a shortage in its ranks, a move that could also benefit Indians.

The decision announced by the (MoD) means that people from countries - including India, Australia, Kenya, and - will be considered for roles, even if they have never lived in Britain.

The is an association of 53 independent states that are mostly former territories of the

The MoD laid out the proposals in a written ministerial statement (WMS) before Parliament, which involves a waiver of the current requirement of a minimum of five-year residency in the UK for applying to join the country's Army, Navy or

This would open up the forces to recruits who have been based in countries like India, Australia, and and meet the necessary recruitment criteria for the service and role they wish to join.

"We have now decided to remove the five-year UK residency criterion for Commonwealth citizens and increase recruitment to 1,350 across the Royal Navy, and Royal (RAF), the MoD statement reads.

"Applications will be accepted from all Commonwealth countries, although in order to mitigate the risks associated with unaccompanied minors travelling to the UK without the guarantee of a job, we will not be accepting applications from those under 18," the statement adds.

A limited waiver to the residency requirement was introduced in May 2016 to recruit up to 200 Commonwealth personnel per year to fill skill shortage posts.

This limited waiver has now been widened, with the RAF and Navy beginning recruitment of Commonwealth applicants right away and the to accept such applications from early 2019. Applications from citizens of countries outside the Commonwealth will not be accepted.

"Citizens from the Commonwealth have a long tradition of serving with distinction in the Armed Forces, the MoD said.

Special rules already allow citizens of and Gurkhas from to join the British armed forces. The five-year UK residency requirement for Commonwealth recruits was first waived in 1998, before being reintroduced in 2013.

A (NAO) report had revealed in April this year that the UK's armed forces is short of around 8,200 soldiers, sailors and air personnel. Among measures to meet this shortage, women are now allowed to apply for all roles in the in history.

Britain currently employs 4,500 Commonwealth citizens in the armed forces, with 3,940 in the Army, 480 in the and 80 serving in the RAF.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, November 05 2018. 20:15 IST
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