Australia's Army Seeks to Recruit Foreigners

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jun.04 - 2024 2:34 PM CET

Starting in July, Australia will permit foreigners to serve in its military.

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Until now, serving in Australia's military required Australian citizenship. That is set to change in July, allowing foreign applicants to join and potentially become naturalized citizens.

To counter China's growing influence, Australia launched its biggest military reform in decades last year. Due to a shortage of personnel, foreigners will now be allowed to serve in the military under certain conditions.

Starting in July, New Zealand nationals with permanent residence in Australia will be able to apply to join the Australian military.

Beginning in January, this opportunity will also extend to individuals from Great Britain, the US, and Canada, according to Australian media reports.

Applicants from other nations will also be considered.

The move is "indispensable" to meet the security challenges in the coming years, Defense Minister Richard Marles told ABC.

Australia, the United States, and Great Britain announced the "Aukus" security alliance in 2021, aimed at addressing the military threat posed by China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Conditions for Foreign Applicants

Foreign applicants will need to meet several conditions: they must have lived in Australia for at least one year and must not have served in another country's military in the previous two years. They must also meet the requirements for Australian citizenship.

"It's not about bringing people from other countries," said Minister Matt Keogh, responsible for defense personnel. "We need to increase our defense force by recruiting people who have already decided to become Australians because they have been granted permanent residency. It is not about bringing people in from other countries."

After 90 days of service, the requirements for Australian citizenship are met, Keogh added, and an application for naturalization is then expected.

According to local media, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is short 4,400 personnel.

The German army also faces recurring personnel problems. In 2011, Germany suspended compulsory military service after 55 years.

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