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Army: Recruitment

Volume 476: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what targets he has for recruitment of Commonwealth citizens into the Army. (206114)

The Army currently has no target for the recruitment of Commonwealth citizens. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 14 May 2008, Official Report, column 1577W, to the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what visits were made by Army recruitment selection teams to Commonwealth countries in each year since 1997. (206115)

The Army does not actively recruit overseas with the exception of Gurkhas from Nepal. Any Commonwealth or Irish citizen residing overseas who wishes to apply to join the Army must travel to the UK at their own expense to undergo the selection process. However, in recent years the Army has sent selection teams to some Commonwealth countries at the specific request of the government concerned, and even then only when evidence suggests that there is sufficient interest among the local population to merit a visit. The selection teams screen out those who are not thought capable of meeting the full entry standards, to save them the cost of an abortive trip to the UK to undergo the recruitment selection process. The selection team will only see those who have made an application to the Overseas Cell of the Army's Recruiting Group.

Since 1997 Army Overseas Selection Teams have visited Fiji 10 times, St Vincent and the Grenadines three times and St Lucia twice. In addition a team has this month just commenced a visit to St Lucia and Belize.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the Army he estimates will be non-UK citizens in each year from 2009 to 2015. (206116)

Foreign and Commonwealth citizens (excluding Gurkhas) currently represent seven per cent. of trained Army strength compared to six per cent. as at March 2007 and six per cent. as at May 2006. No forecasts have been made for future years and it is therefore not possible to provide an estimate for each year from 2009 to 2015.