The Australian Defence Force is trying to recruit laid-off soldiers, sailors and air crew from the UK in order to fill their quota of new recruits.
Those chosen will gain preferential treatment when it comes to Australian Immigration and Citizenship. The Australian Navy has sent a delegation to the UK to recruit some of the 5,000 Royal Navy staff due to lose their jobs over the next four years.
Many Australian engineers have been lured away from the military by the mining industry, which offers better pay and conditions. The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, said mining industry recruiters wait on the docks in Western Australia for engineers and other skilled naval personnel when they disembark. It is the 18th century press gang in reverse.
The UK’s Royal Navy has already announced plans to lay off about 1,020 sailors, a third of who are being made redundant compulsorily. Britain has also already decommissioned HMS Ark Royal, the flagship of her fleet and the sister ship of the HMS Invincible which saw service during the Falklands war. Other navy vessals are also due for the chop!
The Australian Navy directly contacts redundant UK sailors and offer them “career transition options” for those interested in immigration to Australia. As you can imagine, the take up is often quite high.
Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, promised his British counterpart, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, that Australia will not recruit personnel needed by the British. But Royal Navy officers have told the Australians they were “very comfortable” with the plan
“Navy has been closely consulting with the Royal Navy on options for RN personnel affected by the downsizing,” an Australian military spokesman said. “The navy is happy for us to put out their feelers for our personnel.”
Foreign recruits to the Australian military are expected to apply for Australian citizenship as soon as they are eligible. This is normally two years after permanent residence is granted, but can be reduced to as little as three months for serving personnel.
Australia has frequently targeted overseas personnel for immigration to Australia, particularly from the UK, the United States, Canada and New Zealand to increase their numbers, but this new recruitment drive in the UK would be the largest so far and could result in the recruitment of as many as 1000 sailors. The Australian Navy has about 16,000 personnel, including about 2000 reserves.
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