Canada’s armed forces (CAF) announced the entry of permanent residents into the military through their social media handle on Instagram. However, the Department of National Defence (DND) is yet to make a formal announcement regarding the change in the recruitment policy.
Currently, permanent residents in Canada who is already trained pilot or doctor or have other unique skill sets could join CAF under the Skilled Military Foreign Applicant (SMFA) program.
But the recent announcement allows any permanent resident to join the forces and get trained, as the military struggles with low recruitment levels.
CAF had earlier resisted the entry of permanent residents due to security clearances. But Canada’s regular force troops are only about 12,000 short of its “full strength” of 100,000 regular force members.
Additionally, Census 2021 on Canada immigration noted the immigrant population to rise from the current 23% to 34% by the end of 2041.
Therefore, the military is now more dependent on immigrants as they land in Canada during their younger working-age years and are more likely to be physically active.
Earlier In March, defense minister Anita Anand considered the need for Canada’s military needs to grow, particularly in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and NATO’s resistance.
“Countries such as France use military service as either a pathway to citizenship or an accelerated pathway to citizenship; but since Canadian citizenship is relatively easy for permanent residents to obtain, it’s not clear that (new recruitment policy) would offer a major incentive in the Canadian case,” said Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada.
Current Ways to Join Canadian Armed Forces
Until now, permanent residents in Canada could join the armed forces only through the Skilled Military Foreign Applicant (SMFA) program.
Only candidates with unique skill sets, such as pilots or doctors, were chosen under the program. This reduced the burden of training costs and focussed on filling a special need in the CAF.
Here are a few key ways to join CAF:
- Paid education – eligible candidates can enroll themselves in a number of paid education programs offered by CAF that will simulate training to join the armed forces.
- Reserve force (Part-Time) – eligible candidates may serve part-time in the Canadian Armed Forces for operations at home and overseas.
- Regular force (Full-Time) – eligible candidates joining the Regular Force usually work full-time with NATO and the US to defend its sovereignty.
Eligibility for Joining the Canadian Armed Forces
Breaking away from recruiting foreigners through SMFA alone, Canada has now opened CAF to other PR categories. The official website of CAF mentions the following eligibility:
- Be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident
- Be at least 18 years old (17 years old with parental consent), except:
- For the Paid Education programs – you may be 16 years old (with parental consent)
- For the Regular Forces – you may be 16 years old (with parental consent) and must be enrolled as a full-time student
- Must have completed grade 12 education to enlist as an officer in CAF
Canada will Invite Over 465,000 new Permanent Residents in 2023
Earlier this month, Canada released the new Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025.
The plan is targeting 500,000 new permanent residents in Canada per year by the end of 2025. More realistic, Canada will target about 465,000 new immigrants in 2023.
This may drastically widen the pool of candidates for various eocnomic-class programs like Express Entry, and PNP to qualify for Canada PR and further, the military to choose from.
Book your free appointment with Canada and determine your eligibility to qualify for Canada PR based on your work experience and academic profile.