Joining from overseas...

Discussion in 'Join the Army - Regular Soldier Recruitment' started by LameFox, Mar 29, 2010.

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  1. Okay, so from the start... I'm an Australian citizen in my (very) early 20's wanting to join the British army. I'm fairly sure I'm CP3 but as far as medical conditions go, that's all I'm aware of. I'm training for fitness each day, measured out 2.4km with my car and working on running it easier and faster, I do push-ups and pistols, stuff like that. I have about a year left on a working holiday visa as I was in the UK last year, but if necessary I'll get a new visa when the time comes.

    I've been doing research as best I can, given that the internet is varied and frustrating on the matter. I've tried the "contact us" bit on some official sites but they seem to like just referring me to another website, sometimes helpful and sometimes just as vague, so I figured I'd try something like this, too. I've also taken some "practice" tests for BARB, I think they called it, and seemed to do okay. I figure the real ones will be harder but I should manage.

    So what I gather of the process so far is this:

    1. I submit some info online.
    2. They send me something, I fill it out and send it back.
    3. It gets processed, and assuming that works they give me a time/place to be in the UK. I have to be ready to stay for "2-3 months" and pay my own airfare (should only need one-way if I still go with my current visa).
    4. The first time I go in is for the academia (tests, interview, etc.) I think. If that goes well, they either give me a time/place for the next bit or will contact me.
    5. The next stage they take me (us) somewhere else for physical/medical tests and if that goes well I begin training "soon".

    That may not be exactly correct, so feel free to enlighten me.

    The main thing that bothers me is steps 4 and 5. Not what they actually entail, that I'm fine with, but here's the thing: I'm not exactly rich. I have $4k saved at the moment, which I'm thinking is half that in pounds, and expect to pay about $1k for the plane ticket (one way). I'm happy with living in a tent between times, then checking into a hotel to shower and shave to be presentable for meetings. I've done that before, sans meetings.

    What worries me is how they will contact me. I could probably keep a mobile phone charged somehow, in fact I still have one from my last visit, mind the sim card will have expired. But if they mean to send me a letter, that's another story. Obviously my finances will increase before I get there, but I doubt I can afford a place for 2-3 months and then wait for "soon" to arrive. I thought of opening a PO box, but apparently they want an address (then really, what's the point of the PO box?) for that anyway. Anyone know if that's do-able without an address, or have a better idea?

    Hell, if they'd let me I'd just walk to the office each day and ask if they had a time yet, but of course I get the feeling that's not exactly procedure.

    Another thing I wondered about is the erm... I forget what you call it, National Insurance Number or something? Do I need one of those? I know I would have had to get one if I wanted a regular job, but I think it can take a while, so I'm not really clear on that. Unless they'd let me get one after joining, I'd need somewhere to collect mail for that, too, I think. I've not found any mention of it on the army sites I've checked, but I know the officials can overlook things sometimes.

    So yeah, this is mainly a search for clarification, anything I missed, etc. There's bound to be something.

    (If you're wondering, my ideal jobs would be Paras or Infantry, but naturally it depends what's actually on offer. I did find the theoretical run-time requirements here, so that should be useful.)
  2. Lame Duck,

    I think that you might find that you are flogging a dead horse. The Army are about to make a whole load of guys redundant soon, so the idea of recruiting from overseas is in itself redundant.

    Secondly, if I remember right, you can only ever apply for a working holiday visa once, and it allows up to a total of 6 months employment during a 12 month period. There is no way that you are going to be accepted into the British Army on a working holiday visa!

    Unless you have dual nationality (British/Australian) or a permanent resident visa you’d best apply to the Australian Army.
  3. Actually, I suppose it isn't technically a working holiday visa anymore. The one I got is a Tier 5 (youth mobility scheme) and it allows for two years residence and work, with no recourse to public funds. From what I gathered from army websites, it sounds like if I actually got in, my immigration status would be in a kind of suspended state. I'd get a kind of ID or something to this effect. They've never indicated that I'd need to prepare a working visa for the (possible) duration of service, just something that would keep me legal until I got in or went home.
  4. My partner was accepted into the Army on a working holiday visa, and he's Australian too. He just had to get it extended so that it had the required time on it. BUT it does seem a little bit unlikely to all happen without a residence here to be honest...

    EDIT- I say extended, it was really a new visa I think.
  5. It probably was, as I don't think the working holiday or YMS (in the new system) can be extended.

    When you say without a residence, do you mean because of the address issues? Or because of restrictions? I know there is mention that some jobs aren't available without a period of residence, but they seem... unwilling to mention precisely which ones.
  6. I just mean in terms of, you'd need an address to go through the application surely.
  7. With regards to how well recruiting is going at the moment, i'm suprised the army has not put a hold on applications from commonwealth countries. Has this ever happened in the past?
  8. This is the process involved for those applying from overseas as commonwealth or citizens of the Irish Republic through the Army Overseas Recruitment Cell.

    1. Apply online using form on

    2. The Army Overseas Recruitment Cell (AORC) will send you an email with requirements for applying:

    3. Send the required info provided you satisfy the given requirements. The sponsor is just a UK resident who serves as a point of contact between you and the army. The sponsor is also there for immigration purposes. Visit the home office website for more info. The sponsor does not necessarily accommodate you, just sign a couple of documents for you.

    4. You will be sent an application pack just like UK residents do. The difference being that you will have the RG8 medical forms and the Criminal Offences Form attached. Usually, for UK residents, these are filled in after the application is handed in. You will complete all the forms, attached any requested info and send your application to the AORC using the addressed envelope enclosed.

    5. Your application will be assessed and if successful, you will receive a letter informing you about the available vacancies in the army, and that you will be required to travel to UK within 3 months from date of letter. Your application will be sent to the nearest Army Careers and Information Office (ACIO) depending on where you will be staying in UK.

    Once in the UK, you will undergo a very similar process to that of other applicants. Make sure you notify your careers advisor that your application is already done and should have been sent to your office by recorded delivery from the AORC. The better prepared you are, the quicker you'll go through the stages involved. Have a look at the other threads on ARRSE relating to fitness and requirements, BARB tests and research on your chosen jobs.

    Have a look at this to see what you will have to go through:

    I applied online during the month of Feb 09, sent my info via email the following month. Received application pack in May and sent it back that same month. I was notified my application was successful in Aug and travelled to UK in Oct. Did my ADSC in Jan and will be starting phase 1 next July as a fitter in the RE. My process was a bit longer cos I didn't make it in time for ADSC prior to the Xmas recess, was supposed to go on the 6th of Jan but was cancelled cos of bad weather. Eventually I went on the 26th of Jan.

    You will complete NI paperwork and take the Oath of Allegiance (Attestation Ceremony) after you pass ADSC and get a date for phase 1 training. Your careers advisor will guide you through that when you're there.

    Any MODS who want to place this post in a more prominent place for the benefit of those applying from overseas, go ahead and do so.
  9. Where did you join from Rdim? If I may ask? Have you done your oath yet?? I'm going in August and haven't yet. As to joining from overseas, don't believe the whole you just pass selection and 6 weeks later you are in basic. With the current situation, depending on your job choice it could be 6 months to a year. I guess lame fox the best thing is to come over here and rent a place and work whilst you do the proccess. Then you can get an address and be occupied whilst you wait. What unit are you looking to join mate?
  10. You'll do you Attestation Ceremony just prior to going in. Maybe a couple of weeks before. I've still got to do mine.
  11. Thanks for the info...

    Well, since my visa only goes for one more year, I'm not sure I'd be able to work long enough there. But if they're so swamped with applicants right now, might I be better off just saving and getting fit this year and applying next year?

    With the visa, I think Australian citizens get a few months (not working obviously) without having one at all. I'm thinking three. So maybe, if I'd saved enough money, I can just hop over to France or something for a weekend to refresh it when needed (assuming there's not a cooldown time, in which case I'd just have to pay for a longer holiday visa).

    Is there trouble getting all jobs at the moment or is it specific fields they have too much of?

    And what exactly is required of the sponsor? There are people there who know me, but if it's expensive or difficult for them that's another matter...

    @ Jono_nz,
    Besides my interest in infantry or paras, I don't have very specific goals at the moment. Not that I wouldn't like to, but a lot of the information on exactly what I can do has been pretty vague (due to colour perception, and without a period of residency mainly) so I figure it's best to practice for what I want and just be open to whatever they offer me.
  12. Sponsor is just a UK resident who serves as a point of contact between you and the army. Also the sponsor is there for immigration purposes. Visit the home office website for more info.

    The sponsor does not necessarily accommodate you, just sign a paper for you.

    Honestly, if I were you I'd join the Australian forces. You'll definitely get fitter and your piece of action. If you really want to join the British Army or want to get a tougher challenge, I suggest you do so afterwards when you would have had experience under your belt. I heard a number of Kiwis and Aussies do so and join SAS or SAS(R) directly.

    The situation currently is that only the best recruits get to train and even so, the job choice is extremely limited, especially for non-resident due to security clearance requirements.

    Last I heard was that about 3000 passed selection but have been put on the waiting list cos they didn't get the grade although they passed.
  13. I am another CP3 Australian who was in almost the exact same position as you (gutted on your JOES day after being shown the sheet with the jobs open to CP3 applicants perhaps?). I wonder how many decent young blokes they turn away every year with their moronic, backward standards...

    Anyway, I have been in the UK for 3 and a bit months now and will shortly be attending my ADSC selection course for the PARAs/Infantry. I didn't bother with all that overseas application stuff, mainly because I'm 7th gen. aussie, have no ties to the UK and therefore no sponsor. My process went like this:

    - Got Tier 5 YMS Visa.
    - Organised a room in Manchester - heaps cheaper than London - over the internet. (accommodation can actually be quite cheap, I pay just under 200 quid a month all inclusive, no need to live in a tent haha.)
    - Flew there.
    - Went into AFCO the day I arrived. Got the ball rolling.
    - Registered with local GP as instructed --> received NHS Number (you need one) quite a bit later.
    - Applied for National Insurance Number (you need one to apply also, straightforward process this takes ages to arrive).
    - Completed the various stages of the application as does everyone else; BARB, Num and Lit testing,med forms, pre-adsc, Interviews 2 and 3.

    Provided you are Commonwealth, have 4 months validity on your visa and are residing in the UK you can walk into the AFCO and apply as would any native here. That said, I can't imagine you progressing at all without a registered address.

    With regards "flogging dead horses" I haven't encountered any reticence to deal with me due to my commonwealth background. On the contrary they have been very keen to push me through as quickly as possible and if I hadn't spent so much time bingeing over the Xmas/NY period I would have advanced to ADSC significantly quicker. However I echo the warnings of others about the wait to phase 1 training. I have been told the next available intake I could possibly be loaded onto if successful at ASDC/PRAC is September.

    With CP4 colour vision (CP3 in australian grading - no CP1 in British Army) according to "TABLE 2 Minimum Medical Standards for Entry to the Army, By Arm and Employment – Soldiers" from the PULHHEEMS Administrative Pamphlet 2007, you are eligible for service in:
    -RAC/HCAV - AFV Crewman
    -RA - all trades
    -R SIGNALS - Information systems engineer, communication systems operator, EW systems operator, Driver lineman, Tech supply specialist.
    -Foot Guards, Infantry, PARA
    -RLC - port op, driver, driver radio op, postal and courier op, supplier, pioneer, chef.
    -RAMC - all trades.
    -REME - tech storeman, rec mech.
    -AGC - mpgs, sps
    -QARANC - student/qualified nurse, health care assistant.

    So my advice would be to save up a bit more cash (I came over with roughly double what you have), apply from overseas if you can, if not no big deal, make sure you're fit before you arrive (I wasn't haha) and get on with it.

    Anymore questions feel free to get in touch/pm me.
  14. Yeah, that was pretty much it. My aptitude tests went great, and when I went to see the interviewer he literally opened by telling me that my score meant I could choose anything that didn't require extra education certificates (electrician, etc.) then I told him they graded me CP3 and it basically went down to things like clerical work. Not to disparage people who do those jobs, but it's really not for me.

    Those options actually look pretty good though - thanks. Artillery was my backup after infantry when I applied here, but even that was off-limits.

    In that case the sponsor thing doesn't sound too hard. At the moment then it seems like I just need to save enough that I can stay there as long as I need to (which may go up or down depending on the amount of applicants).

    Which is fine really, since if I wait longer than I personally need to, I can just focus on practising for the tests and make sure I'm at the high end of the class if they're still so busy when I can afford to apply.
  15. oh, and if you can, open a bank account in the UK through an Australian travel agent/ relocation service or international type bank with branches in the UK. Trying to open one once you are here is a complete pain in the c0ck.