Armed Forces: Foreign Nationals

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 31st October 2018.

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Photo of Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Defence)

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Commonwealth citizens are currently serving in the British armed forces; and in which services they serve.

Photo of Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Defence)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the number of Commonwealth citizens serving in the British armed forces.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

There is a long tradition of Commonwealth citizens serving in the British Armed Forces, and we continue to value their service which provides an important contribution in defending the UK at home and abroad.

The table below shows the numbers of Commonwealth citizens serving in our Armed Forces as at 1 April 2018:

Service

Royal Navy/ Royal Marines

Army

Royal Air Force

Total

Regulars

480

3,940

80

4,500

FR20 Reserves

10

190

10

210

Total

490

4,140

90

4,720

The 4,500 Commonwealth citizens in the Regular forces represent 3.4% of the Regular trained strength. The 210 Commonwealth citizens in the FR20 Reserves represent 0.7% of the FR20 Reserve trained strength.

Notes:

  • Figures for the Royal Navy/Royal Marines and Royal Air Force are for the Trained Regular Population and Trained FR20 population. Army figures are for Trade Trained Regular population, and Trained FR20 population.
  • Nationality is as reported on the Joint Personnel Administration system
  • Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

We keep our recruitment policies under constant review, and should there be any future changes in relation to applications from the Commonwealth these will be made clear on the single Service websites.

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