Recruitment process for overseas applicants

Discussion in 'Join the Army - Regular Soldier Recruitment' started by MisellaLandica, Mar 2, 2008.

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  1. I'm relatively new here as an active poster, but have been a longtime reader. Hopefully my queries won't be too repetitive, then, though I have little doubt someone will find something to complain about - I know I would.

    I am from a Commonwealth country, and will be flying to the UK later this month to complete the application process. I have sent off the first batch of horrible forms, including the RG8 medical one, and been invited to the UK continue the process.

    I know that once I arrive, I have to go to an ACIO, where I will be interviewed and probably be given a BARB test. From what I can figure out, I go from there to the next available tranche on the ADSC, which is the two-day selection procedure. Then, assuming all goes well there, I understand that one has 15 days to accept an offer, then one goes to attestation and thence to Phase I training.

    My concern is this: obviously, it is expensive for a foreigner to live in the UK for ages. The recruiting people said to expect the process to take 2-3 months, and that is fine (though obviously, quicker is better, and thus far they have always been much quicker on their end than they said to expect: forms due to arrive in 8 weeks arrive in 2, and so forth, so I am optimistic).

    However, I have read here on ARRSE of people waiting for months and months while their medical forms are cleared - that seems to be a particular bottleneck in the system, and it seems to be particularly on the GP side of things. Am I right in assuming that that would not apply to me, since I have already submitted those RG8 forms, and since there was nothing problematic on them, that part of my application process is out of the way?

    Also, what particular stages are missing in the summary of the process I gave above? What is this 'Look at life' thing? Does it double up with the ADSC for certain capbadges - since many of the 'look at life' things seem to include fitness & medical tests etc., from what I can make out.

    Finally, does anyone know what sort of dates the next few Phase I infantry training intakes will be?

    Thanks for any help - I'm just trying to get all my ducks in a row.
  2. If the medical form has been filled out and the ACIO have recieved them and nothing has arose that could hinder you from joining then all sounds good.

    Well so far the process of joining for me has taken 6 months and i start basic next sunday so can take a while,i was deferred at selection so that added another month.You should go on a look at life before they put you through to selection,what regiment you planning on joining?Its a good 2 days may i add,no medical is involved but there is a physical aspect though,nothing hardcore mind you.

    Infantry runs every 2 weeks or something like that :? .....i think.
  3. I know a South African Lad who joined the Paras, not sure if he managed to get through training was 2006 this, so info a bit old i know, but he said it took him a couple of months from beginning to end, till he went to Catterick
  4. Hehe...well, I sent off my initial enquiry last year in August, so if you count all of that time, I'm already into my 7th month! But much of that time was taken up on my end gathering requisite documentation - particularly police clearance from here, which I applied for promptly but had to wait 2.5 months for it to arrive, and couldn't do anything else in the interim except get fit (probably a good thing).

    Good luck with your training, and enjoy!

    That's good news. I'm from South Africa as well, and the exchange rate is not very kind to us. My parent have been very generous to me, but I don't want to leech off them too much (unfortunately, for visa/imigration reasons working - even part-time - in the UK in the interim isn't an option).
  5. DON'T believe the more optimistic time estimates the Army tends to give. I too, am from South Africa, and I also started the application process from back home - sending all the forms off and so forth. I have been in the UK since 4 July 2007, and am still awaiting a date to start training. I (finally) attended ADSC more than a month ago. I have no medical problems, I have passed every test quite comfortably, and I have had no deferrals. Some people may be lucky, and get in within the minimum time quoted, but some are, obviously not.

    I would STRONGLY advise you to try for a working holiday visa. Bloody expensive, it's true, but ultimately worth it. Also, you're going to need a National Insurance number after you pass ADSC, otherwise they apparently can't put through your job application or some such. Getting this number takes quite a while (I think it took me about two months altogether - but I applied for it shortly after arriving in the UK, as I was doing a bit of barwork to pay the bills.) I am unsure of what the process would be for you, as you won't be able to work in the UK before you enlist, so you might run into some trouble trying to get an NI number when you first arrive.

    Also, don't let the Strand office in London handle your application if you can help it. I thought that it would be the best way to go, since they deal with so many foreigners, but they are swamped with applicants, and I suspect this is largely responsible for the many delays I've encountered. Not sure where your sponsor lives, or where you've said you're going to be staying on the forms, so it may be too late already. A nice quiet AFCO like the one in Liverpool would probably be a better bet if you can manage it.

    That's just the main points I can think of, off the top of my head. If you have any other questions, I'll do my best to help. After all, us Saffas gotta look out for one another. ;)

    Other than that, good luck to you, bru! Hope to see you around. What regiment are you looking at joining, btw?
  6. How frustrating. It seems that the whole thing is a tangle of meaningless bureaucracy with a little bit of purpose hidden somewhere deep below, and it really is luck of the draw if you get a recruiter who is arrsed to wade through it with determination, or just sit back and let it all wash over him.

    Probably relates to your point about finding a quiet AFCO, since if the recruiters are chasing targets and at a busy office, they don't need to do anything active to get their numbers, whereas if they are at a quiet one, they not only have time to do a proper job, but have to try everything to make sure that no-one walks back out through the door without signing up.

    Thanks for the advice - I hadn't encountered the NI issue before: one of those things the recruiters don't think of telling you. Now I'm really confused.

    I went to the visa place in Sandton (the British High Commission is now outsourcing their visa applications, it seems), and I was told I cannot get a working holiday visa because if I were to join, that would be full time work and would violate the terms of the visa. Then they said that I don't actually need a visa to do go to the UK to join the Army, and if I paid them R3000 they would give me a stamp in my passport to prove it. Bollocks to that, I thought. So I contacted the High Commission directly, and they told me I need neither a visa nor a stamp in my passport saying that I don't need a visa (obviously, because that stamp would then be a de facto visa). I have also complained about the rip-off outsourcers who then wanted to make a quick R3000 for doing nothing.

    The moral of the story seems to be this: to get a working holiday visa, you need to have sufficient funds to support yourself for a few months anyway. If the application process only takes that amount of time, then all's well and good, and I will just use that money. If it takes longer, then I don't know. One possibility I have identified is, after the ADSC, getting a written job offer, flying over to the continent, going to the British Embassy there, and applying for a work permit using the job offer (in the interim, I can teach English there, since I'm qualified to do so). Then, armed with the work permit, I may be able to go back to the UK and get the NI number. Do you think that would work? Else, how much time does it take to get the visa?

    One would think that, if one had expressed a serious interest in taking a job where one may be asked to bleed and die for a country, and proved one's suitability for doing such a job, they would be able to be a tad more helpful with this sort of thing!

    EDITED TO ADD: (in case it's helpful to anyone else in the same predicament)...I found this site, which mentions something about a 'fast track' NI number for employers needing an NI number for a prospective employee who is a foreign national, where a form is completed at the employer's office instead of a Jobcentre or suchlike, and processing is expedited. It specifically mentions that such a scheme exists for NHS professionals recruited from overseas, so surely a similar thing must be available for the military. Any recruiters here who could shed some light?

    I think I already got one of those purely by blind luck, because my intended address is a little village in Hampshire...

    Thanks for the help. As for regiment, probably the Royal Irish (failing that, the Rifles). I have always liked light role troops, and have an Irish surname of which I'm fiercely proud.

    The eventual plan is to go for an officer's commission. I was told that I could circumvent the 5 year residential requirement by serving some time (6 or 18 months, depending on the source) as an Other Rank and then do the AOSB. I'd certainly rather spend time as a squaddie - even though I know it may be difficult for me - than waste 5 years doing meaningless drivel only to go to Sandbags at 29 and have my career curtailed accordingly.

    And yourself? What're you going in for?
  7. To start I'm Australian and I'm currently waiting to go to ADSC.

    As of last December the recruiters told me that you can through in just under 3 months if you're lucky and have all your forms sorted out from the beginning. I applied 3 months ago and I go to ADSC on the 2nd of next month, however I asked for extra time to work on my fitness, which hasn't been a problem since I have a job. If you can get a working holidaymaker's visa then I would strongly suggest that you do since as you pointed out life in the UK is quite expensive, and it helps to be able to wait around longer if you have any delays or problems with your application. Also having a job gives me something to do during the daytime. If you do get a job then you'll have to get your NI number sorted out then, but it didn't take me long so it's worth getting it out of the way.

    For me the medical side was very quick, I handed in my RG8 and a specialist's report and got a letter saying I had to attend an interview 2 weeks later.

    I can definitely attest that The Strand office is swamped with applicants, including a lot of guys who can't speak a word of English and I've seen them turf at least one guy because he tried to talk them into giving him a visa, so it may not be the best place to go to if you can find somewhere else. However like I said they've been pretty speedy with me, the main delay has been me needing to work on my rather sub-par fitness.

    Anyway best of luck mate, hope all goes well.
  8. First off, Yay! I got my CIC start date today. 4 May.

    Now then. The stamp they were trying to sell you may have something to do with entry clearance. As I recall, all South Africans who have not yet been to the UK are now advised to get entry clearance before going to the UK - I think it involves them doing some of the checks they do for visas, i.e. available funds and so forth (at least, this was the case in 2007 when I applied for my visa.) It's true that you don't technically need a visa if you're going to be staying less than 6 months and not working, but the immigration officer at Heathrow or wherever can choose to prevent you from entering the UK and put you on the first flight back to SA. I've seen this happen to one oke. You can chance it with that letter that the army sent you, calling you forward for selection, but it's by no means a guarantee that they'll let you into the UK. Think of it from their perspective; if you are unsuccessful at selection, or decide not to go, what's to stop you from staying on in the UK as an illegal immigrant? You've already made your intention to make a life in the UK clear by applying to the Army, but you're not in yet. Unfortunately, they seem to be particularly suspicious of us third world folk, more so than with Aussies and Canucks.

    I took note of the fact that the letter from the overseas cell said that the army can in no way help you with the visa application process, so I made no mention of it whatsoever when I applied for a Working Holiday visa. I even had to get a letter from a prospective employer, saying that I had a job offer waiting for me in SA when I returned from my working holiday. The whole visa application is centred on you convincing them that you're not at risk of absconding once you get to the UK. I think it took me about a month from start to finish, to get the visa, but that time may have changed by now, as I applied just after VFS (or whatever) took over the application process.

    After you pass ADSC, you do get a snazzy certificate saying that you have been offered a job by the British Army, so you might well be able to get a work permit based on that. Then again, since you don't actually need a work permit to take up the job offer, you might not. Sadly bureaucracy dominates here. Bear in mind, that if something unexpected (such as the dreaded 'heart murmer,' for instance) were to happen at ADSC, you might be deferred for another month or so. Probably you won't have to wait as long after ADSC to start training as I do, as I'm going for the Paras, and apparently intakes get cancelled if there aren't enough candidates, and coordinating CIC start dates and P-company slots and so forth = more delays. Certainly, other infantry types posting on Arrse seem to be into basic very quickly after ADSC.

    Heh, Royal Irish, eh? I might see you at Colchester then, if all goes well. I'm ultimately hoping to do the Army Pilot's course after a few years of carrying heavy loads at speed over dusty plains. Not yet sure if I'll try the Officer route. NCO pilots seem to have more fun!

    Oh yeah, and damn you and your speedy application Mr. Brown!! :p

    (Editted to reinsert punctuation that was oddly replaced by question marks when I posted)