Amidst the British Army’s worst troop shortage since 2010, foreign nationals will now be allowed to enter military ranks according to a policy change by the Ministry of Defence announced Monday. What essentially amounts to a mercenary recruitment drive is meant to stem the tide of a worsening recruitment crisis in the armed forces as local youths increasingly refuse to sign up.
“Foreign and Commonwealth troops have historically been important and valued sources of recruitment for the British army and I welcome the recruitment limit increase,” Mark Francois, a member of the defence select committee, told the Daily Telegraph.
The army is hoping its openness to foreign nationals — which also includes the Royal Navy and RAF — will bolster total troop numbers by an extra 1,350 joining each year.
The policy will apply to Commonwealth countries only, which includes Australia, India, Canada, Kenya and Fiji. Previously citizens of these countries had to demonstrate British residency for the prior five years, a restriction that’s now been lifted.