Commonwealth eligibility to join

#1
How all,

I have been lurking around here for a while and also lurking on the Arrse website.
I have just noticed a few threads about Commonwealth citizens are now not directly eligible to join the Army and the Army website now also has the same information displayed, but the Navy website has different information regarding Commonwealth Citizens.

Do any of you know if the Navy have different criteria or have they just not updated their website?

I live in New Zealand and have been considering trying to join the British Armed force for a little while and was hoping to make a move on it at the end of this year.
So will be pretty gutted if all my aspirations of serving in the UK armed forces have now been destroyed.

Thanks
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
#3
If you hold a British passport you're OK.

But, if just an NZ passport, unless you have already applied, completed and returned the application forms and been booked to sit the recruiting test, I'm afraid you will require 5 years UK residency.

It changed on 10th July: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-residency-rules-for-armed-forces-recruits

EU Commonwealth Citizens holding a valid passport from Malta & Cyprus, together with Irish citizens, do not need 5 years UK residency before eligible to apply.

So far as I'm aware it's always been the case with regard eligibility, but during the late 1990's there was a relaxation of the residency rules as there was a shortage of applicants, so the MOD and UK Border Agency (as they're now called) relaxed the rules to encourage overseas applicants.

At present, I'd guess the UK Armed Forces recruit a disproportionate amount of overseas applicants in relation to UK citizens and there are "waiting lists" to join many branches of the services due to a surplus of applications in relation to available jobs - in many cases. Oddly, the impression I got was that we're facing a shortfall of Royal Marines recruits this year, but numerically the Royal Marines only make-up 3% of UK Armed Forces, so it's clearly "Big Picture" stuff.

At the same time, Commonwealth Armed Forces will not usually permit untrained British recruits in their service - some countries will allow trained rank UK service personnel to join if they have a skill that's required, but otherwise, in the most part, Brits can't join as a recruit in Commonwealth Armed Forces. Unless you have already applied, completed and returned the application forms and been booked to sit the recruiting test, I'm afraid you will require 5 years UK residency.
 
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