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Lacking soldiers, Australia established its own Foreign Legion

Lacking soldiers, Australia established its own Foreign Legion

Facing a shortage of recruits, the Australian Army will open its doors to foreign nationals. The Defense Minister talks about an “indispensable” measure that should come into force in July.

There is an emergency: the barracks are empty. According to official figures, more than 4,400 positions are still vacant in the ranks of the army. But given the degree of foreign interference, especially Chinese, this AustraliaIt is no longer possible to make a hole of this size in a racket. The Ministry of Defense has set itself a very ambitious target: to have a force of 80,000 troops by 2040, compared to just 60,000 today, or more than 20,000 chartered within about fifteen years.

Australian government logicBut the problem is that such a huge leap cannot be achieved without the gradual contribution of foreign recruits. We are initially talking about employing 350 people a year via this international route. Who is concerned? For now, Australia's allies: on July 1, the system will open to New Zealanders, and from January 2025, to Americans, Britons and Canadians. In other words, Canberra connects with the Anglo-Saxon countries it knows well, as these five countries (Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States) make up “ Five eyes », a kind of informal club in the English-speaking world that brings together the work of intelligence agencies.

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Admission requirements are not as stringent as you might think. Applicants must have a permanent residence permit in Australia and have lived on Australian soil for at least one year before volunteering. There are two additional criteria: not having served in another military force within the previous two years and, above all, being eligible for Australian citizenship. The idea is for these recruits to become Australians as quickly as possible. After entering active duty, they will be able to begin the naturalization process after only 90 days.

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For now, this “foreign legion” is limited to Australia’s neighbors and allies, but depending on the success of the system, Australia does not rule out opening it up to other countries in the future, with stricter controls of course depending on origin. Of the candidates. The means exist: the government has allocated €23 billion to increase the number of troops by 2040.

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