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SOURCE: AFP

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has announced that permanent residents, including a significant number of Indians, are now eligible to join the military. The announcement came just before Remembrance Day, amid reports that the Canadian military is struggling to fill thousands of open positions.

As of 2021, there were over eight million permanent residents in Canada, accounting for roughly 21.5 percent of the total Canadian population. In the same year, nearly 100,000 Indians were granted permanent residency in Canada, as the country welcomed a record 405,000 new immigrants.

According to data, Canada is expected to welcome over a million new permanent residents between 2022 and 2024, significantly expanding the pool of candidates.

Permanent residents were previously only eligible through the Skilled Military Foreign Applicant (SMFA) entry program, which was “open for individuals… that would reduce training costs or fill a special need… such as a trained pilot or a doctor,” according to the non-profit Royal United Services Institute of Nova Scotia.

The Department of National Defence (DND) is expected to make a formal announcement about the policy change in the coming days, according to CIC News.

Anita Anand, Canada’s Defence Minister, stated in March that the CAF must expand in light of the changing global geopolitical landscape caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The CAF issued an alert in September about a severe shortage of recruits to fill thousands of vacant positions.