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Call for Poles to be allowed to join UK Army

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People from outside the Commonwealth must currently live in Britain for five years and take British citizenship before they can sign up.

However, as the manning crisis in the Armed Forces deepens, a surge of interest from Polish immigrant workers has prompted some to call for a loosening of the rules.

Lt Col Paul Meldon, commander of regional recruitment in London, said a significant number of Poles had made inquiries and voiced interest about joining up.

"Currently, they can't join up unless they live here for a few years and get a British passport - and it would need legislation to change that," he told the Daily Mail.

"There is a precedent for having battalions of foreign soldiers in the British Army, in the form of the Gurkha regiments.

"Or there is the French approach, where they have the Foreign Legion."

A loosening of the rules could make a large number of potential recruits available, he added.

Recent figures show the military is short of more than 5,500 troops.

In an effort to address the problem, the Army on Monday launched a new £2 million recruitment campaign.

Brigadier Andrew Jackson, Commander of the Army Recruiting Group, said the Army was on course to miss its annual recruitment target by about 10 per cent.

Brig Jackson revealed the news as he launched the To The Best campaign, which encourages the public to show their support for British troops.

The Telegraph has launched its own campaign to support British troops, calling on the Government to hold an annual Armed Forces Day.

Last month, government figures revealed a third of Army recruits were dropping out of basic infantry training.

The growing casualty rate in Iraq and Afghanistan and the low pay of trained infantry soldiers have been identified as factors persuading recruits to leave early.

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Comments (7 posted):

admin on 18 March, 2008 06:48:54
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We wouldn't need foreign nationals to make up the armed forces strength if we conscripted young offenders and the persistently work shy aged 16 to 25. This would also have the added bonus that such a measure may instill in these people some sense of respect and discipline so sorely lacking in todays society.
admin on 18 March, 2008 07:12:35
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British soldiers are responsible both to the MoD for the job they do and to the local communities from which they come, for how they do it. If the public has pride in its armed forces, recruits will come forward. If you recruit a large proportion of Poles then you create a 'foreign legion', not perhaps a bad thing in itself for a government that regards the use of force as just another foreign policy option. But it will not be the British Army as we've known it. And we don't know how that will affect recruiting in the future.
Simple Pole on 17 August, 2009 11:26:22
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Poles... a foreign army as you say... an army that will never be as you know it now... Through centuries people of all nationalities have been migrating to UK, to create it a country it is as everyone knows it! I, myself have been living here for over 8 years along my family (now being only 19 years old). I take this country for my own and can’t really say as much about the country that I was born in. Although in your point of view I have got nothing to do with this country my heart beats along with it. Britain has given me so much and yet, it does not allow me to pay it back in best possible patriotic way. Simply because I haven’t got a citizenship for which my family cannot afford to pay. Citizenship in today’s Britain isn’t earned, you pay for it and you get it. You would rather let in to Army a person that came to Britain as an asylum seeker posing a real threat. Than letting in a simple Pole whose brothers fight side by side along with other NATO forces to eliminate Terrorism.
Wellington Muringa on 31 August, 2009 01:53:38
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can someone help me to get a visa please i am dieing to join the british army for the parst 3years now.i am a former zimbabwean soilder.please contact me
Aggrey Mutai on 11 September, 2009 08:20:50
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I duly consent to the fact that millitary activities are the best and working with it is a great honor.British Army bieng exclusively the best,its my wish to join but i am not from the UK.Please advice me on the way forward.I am currently in Kenya.Thanks.
Nwokeoma christian on 11 November, 2009 12:13:30
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currently,i reside here in belgium but i wish to join the british army.how do joi?
erelaq on 31 January, 2010 06:37:10
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I am belgian and would like to join the british army is this in any way possible

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