About 2,000 new immigrants have made inquiries about joining the ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), after it dropped its citizenship requirement to allow permanent residents to join the military.
“The response has been very encouraging,” Peter Antonew, deputy commander of the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group told NCM, after federal National Defence Minister Anita Anand officially announced the policy switch on Dec. 5.
NCM reported on Nov 11 that Canada’s military would be opening its doors wider to attract new immigrants into its ranks after the CAF recruitment site was updated to reflect policy change. Until this week, only Canadian citizens were eligible to apply for employment within the country’s military. Permanent resident status — except in certain categories — did not qualify.
“We have been processing the new inquiries across the country with our 26 recruitment officers since last month,” said Antonew, adding the applicants will be subject to strict background and security checks.
“The process to obtain security clearances can be lengthy for some permanent residents, but we are working to improve the application process.”
Antonew said permanent residents with or without military experience can apply to join the CAF any time after they have landed in Canada.
Permanent residents who join the military will not be subject to the minimum residency requirements and will be allowed to leave the country for overseas postings or personal reasons. Currently, to keep your permanent resident status, you must have been in Canada for at least 730 days during the last five years.
Antonew said many of the inquiries so far revolve around the paid education program which guarantees a job with the military in your field of study upon graduation. Each program requires two months of service for every month of paid education. Participants receive at least $27,600 while they complete their paid education programs.
“I expect this to be a big draw for new immigrant families as they build their new lives in Canada,” he said.
In a statement, General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff said: “We receive much interest from permanent residents looking to join the Canadian Armed Forces to serve their new country, and our recruiters are keen to begin conversations with these prospective members of our team.”
The CAF is now recruiting for more than 100 occupations, including radiologists and marine technicians. As of July 2022, the regular force had approximately 63,500 members — about 8,000 short of its mandated strength.
The CAF has a target to bring in at least 5,900 new members through its recruiting centres by March 2023.
“Enrolment of permanent residents will help us grow our military with qualified, well-trained people who choose a career in uniform,” said federal defence minister Anand.
“We will continue to work hard every day to build a military that attracts and retains people from all parts of our society who want to serve Canada.”
Said Sean Fraser, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: “Many of these future citizens already work in key sectors across Canada, and I am pleased that they will now have the opportunity to make an extraordinary contribution to Canada by choosing a career in service of the country they now call home.”
A multiple-award winning journalist, Fabian Dawson is an internationally acclaimed author, filmmaker and media expert. His work over the last four decades spans the globe and he also serves as a consultant/strategic advisor to a variety of international companies. As deputy editor-in-chief of The Province, part of the Postmedia chain, Dawson led initiatives within a special publications group to provide directed content for a variety of organisations. He was named the 2019 recipient of the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award at Jack Webster Awards. Dawson has been invited by the governments of India, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and the United States to act as a media observer/advisor on a variety of Asian-Canada issues. Dawson, now operates FD Media, which specializes in harnessing editorial assets to revenue generating opportunities.