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Australian Defence Force opens recruitment to foreigners who can then get citizenship after serving for just 90 days

The Australian Defence Force will soon allow the recruitment of foreigners who will then be eligible for citizenship after serving for at least 90 days.

Minister for Defence Personnel Matt Keogh confirmed in an interview on Tuesday that although the process will start with New Zealanders in July this year before opening to citizens of the US, UK and Canada, expansion to other countries was also on the table.

Mr Keogh originally announced that citizens from around the world would be eligible from January 2025, but Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles then contradicted and insisted only Five Eyes nationals would be able to apply at that point.

“We are, in walking down this path, doing so in a careful, slow and calibrated way,” Mr Marles said.

“From the 1st of July, with those conditions in place … if you are from New Zealand you’ll be able to join the defence force.

“From the 1st of January, that will be extended to other ‘Five Eyes’ countries. In the future, we are having an eye to the Pacific. That is what we are doing.”

Only those who have permanent residency, have lived in Australia for at least a year, and have not served in a foreign military during the preceding two years can apply,

Mr Marles said that recruits would be expected to apply for citizenship, and would be eligible to do so after at least 90 days of service.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton called the new policy a “dog’s breakfast”.

“We’ve got Minister Marles at odds with Minister Keogh, we don’t know the detail,” he said.

“We know from the director-general of ASIO that we operate in an environment where there is an incredibly high level of foreign interference — that’s the case in Five Eyes countries more generally.

“We don’t know the full detail of how many people.”

Mr Keogh said in a statement: “Our people are our most important capability, but reversing the Defence recruitment shortfalls of the last Government requires innovation – we’re being bold in order to grow the Australian Defence Force.

“Recruiting from a wider pool of people, will help ensure our Australian Defence Force reflects the full diversity of Australia and is able to draw on the talents of the entirety of Australian society.”

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