Ottawa: The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have announced that permanent residents, which includes a large number of Indians, will now be allowed to enlist, as the military struggles with low recruitment levels, according to a media report.
The move also comes five years after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced that they're changing their "outdated recruitment process" which will allow permanent residents who have lived in Canada for 10 years to apply as per the report.
According to the Royal United Services Institute of Nova Scotia, a non-profit organisation of retired and active CAF members, permanent residents were previously only qualified under the Skilled Military Foreign Applicant (SMFA) entry program, which was "open for individuals... that would reduce training costs or fill a special need... such as a trained pilot or a doctor."
Right now, candidates must be citizens of Canada, over 18 years old (or 16, providing they have parental consent), and have a grade 10 or grade 12 education depending on if they plan to enlist as an officer.
The CAF sounded an alarm over a severe shortage of recruits to fill thousands of vacant positions, meeting about half the number of applicants it needs per month to meet the goal of adding 5,900 members this year.
While the armed forces haven't said whether the recent move was made to boost recruitment, Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, says that it makes good sense.
"In the past, the CAF has had the luxury of being able to limit itself to citizens because it has had enough applicants. This is no longer the case," Leuprecht told in an email.
"The CAF had resisted opening up the ranks to permanent residents because it does create additional burdens and risks, in terms of security clearances, for instance." But recruiting non-citizens isn't by any means something new, he points out, arguing many other countries have done this for years.