Minister of National Defence announces that permanent residents are welcome to apply now to join the Canadian Armed Forces 

News release

December 5, 2022 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Permanent residents represent an important, skilled, and diverse workforce in Canada. This is why today, the Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand, announced that permanent residents are welcome to apply to enroll in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

The authority for the enrolment of a citizen of another country, who has permanent resident status under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, has been delegated by the Chief of the Defence Staff to the Commander Military Personnel Command and the Commander Canadian Forces Recruiting Group.

Currently, the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group accepts trained applicants from foreign militaries. These applicants include pilots, logistics officers, infantry officers and other skilled professionals, who may become enrolled in the CAF if they have permanent resident status in Canada. The intent is to broaden the pool to enable other permanent residents, who meet the same criteria as Canadian citizens to enroll in the CAF as new recruits or officer cadets.

The CAF encourages permanent residents to give serious consideration to a military career in Canada. Canada offers facilitated pathways to citizenship by recognizing the military service to Canada of permanent residents who join the CAF, and citizenship applications from CAF members will be processed on a priority basis by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Changing the culture within the CAF supports the recruitment of new members and allows us to retain existing members as the Department of National Defence and the CAF continue efforts to build an institution where everyone feels safe, protected, and respected.


“Permanent residents make up a skilled and talented component of Canada’s population – and that is why today’s announcement is important news. Enrolment of permanent residents will help us grow our military with qualified, well-trained people who choose a career in uniform. We will continue to work hard every day to build a military that attracts and retains people from all parts of our society who want to serve Canada.”

The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence

“Allowing permanent residents to serve will help advance Canada's interests and values abroad and support Canadians in times of need at home. The recent deployment of hundreds of military personnel in response to Hurricane Fiona in my home community demonstrated the importance of maintaining a high level of readiness that today's announcement will help preserve. Many of these future citizens already work in key sectors across Canada, and I am pleased that they will now have the opportunity to make an extraordinary contribution to Canada by choosing a career in service of the country they now call home.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“To grow and meet the challenges of tomorrow, the Canadian Armed Forces needs to recruit, train, and retain diverse talent in Canada. This talent includes permanent residents, who will bring great enthusiasm, experience, and knowledge to the Defence Team. We receive much interest from permanent residents looking to join the Canadian Armed Forces to serve their new country, and our recruiters are keen to begin conversations with these prospective members of our team.”

General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff

Quick facts

  • The process to obtain security clearances can be lengthy for some permanent residents, but ongoing interdepartmental discussions will determine methods for cross-sharing information and improve the application process. 

  • The Chief of the Defence Staff signed a document on October 18, 2022, that reinforces existing policy and designates authority to the Commander Military Personnel Command and the Commander Canadian Forces Recruiting Group for the enrolment of a citizen of another country who has permanent resident status under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

  • In accordance with existing policy, Defence Administrative Order and Directive 5002-1 Enrolment, an applicant for enrolment in the CAF must be a Canadian citizen or a citizen of another country who has permanent resident status under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and:

    • who is committed to becoming a Canadian citizen upon eligibility;
    • who satisfies a special need; and
    • whose enrolment, in the opinion of the Commander Canadian Forces Recruiting Group, will not be detrimental to the national interest.
  • The CAF recruiting system is now open for applications from both Canadian citizens and permanent residents. We encourage all interested individuals to start the application process

  • The CAF is recruiting for more than 100 occupations – many are new and leading-edge such as radiologists, and marine technicians. 

  •  As of July 2022, the Regular Force has approximately 63,500 members. To meet its mandate set out in Canada’s Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Canadian Armed Forces need 71,500 Regular Force members.  

  • Canada plans to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, as well as 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. The immigration levels plan forecasts that more than 50% of permanent residents will be admitted via economic programs, such as the Federal High Skilled or Provincial Nominee Programs. 

  • The CAF has dedicated increased capacity to bring in at least 5,900 new members through our recruiting centres by March 2023. 

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Daniel Minden
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333

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