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Australian Defence Force opens recruitment to non-Australian citizens

The ADF is widening eligibility criteria to enable more people to join it, including developing options to recruit non-Australian citizens. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has expanded the eligibility criteria to enable non-Australian citizens to join the service.

Under the expanded criteria, permanent residents who have been living in Australia for 12 months can join the ADF, according to a press release by the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) on 4 June.

The DoD said that from July, eligible people from New Zealand who are living in Australia can apply to join the service.

In addition, from January 2025, eligible permanent residents from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada will also be able to apply to join the ADF, the DoD added.

To meet the “ADF entry standards and security requirements, permanent residents wishing to join the ADF must have lived in Australia for at least one year immediately prior to applying, not have served in a foreign military in the preceding two years, and be able to attain Australian citizenship”, the DoD said.

The DoD said it is also streamlining the existing ‘Overseas Lateral Recruitment Scheme', which allows the ADF to fill capability shortfalls by recruiting “skilled military overseas applicants”.

Australia's inaugural National Defence Strategy (NDS) – launched in April – outlined that the ADF must recruit, retain, and grow a highly specialised and skilled workforce.

According to the NDS, the ADF is currently around 4,400 personnel under strength, and the DoD must address immediate workforce needs while also building a long-term workforce pipeline.

The NDS said that the DoD must fundamentally transform its recruitment and retention systems to achieve its workforce priorities.

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