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UK residency rules for Armed Forces recruits

12 July 2013

The government has announced that UK residency rules for new Armed Forces recruits have been reviewed.

As of yesterday, 11 July 2013, Commonwealth recruits who wish to join the Armed Forces (Regulars) will need to demonstrate they have lived in the UK for the last 5 years.

In addition, non-British recruits to the Reserves will be required to have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ in the UK.

The long-standing 5-year UK residency requirement allowing Commonwealth citizens to join the Armed Forces was waived in 1998.

In order to deliver the future structure of the Armed Forces under the requirements of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, we are already reducing their size by adjusting our recruit intake and making some redundancies.

The government has now reviewed the waiver and has reintroduced the 5-year residency requirement in the UK for future new recruits from Commonwealth countries.

This will not affect personnel already serving, or on recruitment, from the Republic of Ireland or for the Brigade of Gurkhas.

The Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois said:

"There has been a long tradition of Commonwealth citizens serving in the British Armed Forces and most recently on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We continue to value their service which provides an important contribution in defending the UK at home and abroad."

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