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United Kingdom amid recruitment crisis

Commonwealth citizens who want to live in the UK want to join the British Armed Forces in Greater Numbers as part of a bid to tackle a growing recruitment crisis.

The Ministry of Defense has received an extra 1,350 personnel a year to the Army, Navy and Air Force.

At least 8,200 are needed to fill the largest shortfall in the full-time military service in a decade, according to a report from the National Audit Office (NAO).

India, Australia, Canada and Fiji want to be considered as all roles in the military.

Since 2013, Commonwealth recruits have been living in the UK for the last five years.

Two years ago the rules were relaxed to a maximum of 200 non-residents. The cap has now raised to 1,350 a year and of those 1,000 wants to be hired by the Army, 300 by the Navy and 50 by the RAF.

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Those from outside the Commonwealth want to be able to apply for a grant, apart from Nepalese Gurkhas and applicants from the Republic of Ireland, who can enrol under a special arrangement.

The five-year residence requirement has been previously waived in 1998 and the UK has already employs 4,500 Commonwealth citizens in the armed forces.

Minister of the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster 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.

"From Australia to Jamaica, to Fiji and South Africa, Commonwealth recruits are already playing a key role in our armed forces.

"So we're stepping up the numbers of recruits from the Commonwealth, knowing they're bringing key skills and dedicated service to our military.

"Their different perspectives also want to help us improve our cultural understanding, giving us an operational advantage over our adversaries."

It follows the announcement by the Ministry of Defense that women would be allowed to apply for all roles in the British military including the Royal Marines.

In April, the NAO found that "significant skill shortfalls in many critical areas" had a shortfall of 5.7 per cent in staff.

It said the shortfall stemmed from a failure to effectively recruit staff and retain existing employees.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: "Ensuring the armed forces have the right number of skilled personnel in a new challenge, but given the complexity and development of new, modern world threats, it is a challenge that will only continue to grow.

"The department needs to fundamentally change its approach to develop skilled and address the long established shortfalls that persist."

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an extra £ 1bn of defense spending in the budget week.

Additional reporting by Press Association.



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