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ADF to recruit foreign citizens

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The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will begin recruiting foreign citizens as part of efforts to increase its numbers.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will begin recruiting foreign citizens as part of efforts to increase its numbers.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will begin recruiting foreign citizens as part of efforts to increase its numbers.

The plan will be rolled out in two phases. New Zealanders living in Australia can join the ADF from July.

Applications will then open up to eligible residents from the UK, U.S. and Canada in January.

Here’s how it’ll work.

Context

In 2022, the previous Coalition Government committed to boosting ADF personnel from around 60,000 to 100,000 by 2040.

Since then, the ADF said its workforce has expanded but remains around 4,400 people short of current targets.

It’s also focused on keeping people in the ADF, after it estimated 6,600 people would leave the force in 2022/23 but only 5,700 would join.

In April, the Government announced a

National Defence Strategy focused on these concerns.

Eligibility

This week the Government announced that eligible non-citizens will be able to join the ADF, as part of its recruitment push.

The plan includes New Zealand, U.S, UK and Canadian citizens who have lived in Australia for at least 12 months.

Applicants must meet security eligibility criteria, not have served in a foreign military in the previous two years, and be eligible for citizenship.

The ADF will also expand overseas recruitment of skilled personnel.

Funding

The Government has committed over $765 billion over 10 years to the Defence Force.

“Recruiting from a wider pool of people will help ensure our Australian Defence Force reflects the full diversity of Australia and is able to draw on the talents of the entirety of Australian society,” Defence Personnel Minister Matt Keogh said.

Response

A recent report from an independent think tank, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said Australia risked falling behind in its ability to defend the country from regional threats.

It argued the Government was not acting quickly enough to boost defence capabilities.

The Opposition said the focus should be on boosting ADF numbers here in Australia. Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Birmingham said young people “don’t have the confidence” to join the ADF because of “dysfunction” in the Government’s defence policy.

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