The Army welcomes enquiries from current and ex-serving members of foreign defence forces who are interested in a new career and a new life in Australia.
Reinforcing the Army
Our Overseas Lateral Recruitment Scheme helps address capability shortfalls that cannot in the short term be solved using Australian personnel. If you are a serving (or recently ex-serving) member of an overseas defence force with appropriate qualifications and/or experience, you may be eligible to apply for a role.
Supported by relevant government departments, the scheme enables the Army to sponsor successful applicants for an Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) Visa.
Understanding what’s involved
If selected, you’ll find the Army offers a strong support base for you and your family. However, it’s important that you carefully research and fully understand the implications of moving to Australia before you submit an expression of interest.
The Defence Community Organisation has published a handbook that helps you and your family understand the various stages of the application, joining and transition process. You’ll find the handbook and other useful information here:
Am I eligible?
You’ll need to meet the following criteria to apply:
- Current serving member of a foreign military service, or left less than three years ago
- At least five years of full-time military experience
- Qualifications, skills and experience that can be directly transferred to the Army
- The minimum academic and military educational standards required by the Army
- Less than 50 years old at time of application
- Able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (speaking, reading, writing and listening) as defined by the International English Language Testing System
- be recommended by a Selection Board after interview,
- pass the medical entry standard for the ADF,
- obtain an Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) Visa from the Department of Home Affairs (you and all accompanying family members will need to meet certain health and character requirements),
- be able to obtain and hold an appropriate level of ADF security clearance,
- have resigned from your current military service and not be required to perform any Reserve service, and
- be eligible – and undertake to become – an Australian citizen.
To be accepted you’ll need to:
What’s the application process?
- Your application will be managed by the Directorate of Career Management Support – Army (DCMS-A), not Defence Force Recruiting. You should expect the process to take 18 to 30 months from initial expression of interest through to your first day at work in the Army. During this time, you will need to demonstrate that you have resigned from your current military service and be able to provide a separation date from all service types (full time, Reserve service, etc.).
- Your first approach to DCMS-A (using the email form link later on this page) should be an expression of interest accompanied by a CV/resume. If you are assessed as having the qualifications, experience and potential to fill an expected vacancy, you will be invited to submit a full application.
- Once that is submitted, it will be reviewed to confirm that your skills and qualifications can be readily transferred to the Australian Army.
- Finally, you will be asked to attend a Selection Board, which includes medical and psychological screening and an individual job interview. If successful you will be given an Offer of Appointment and would generally be expected to start working for the Army within a year of the offer.
Soldier or officer?
Vacancies are broadly grouped into ‘officer’ and ‘other ranks’ categories.
- General Service Officer (GSO)
- Specialist Service Officer (SSO)
- Other Ranks (soldiers)
You’ll need to have completed a minimum level of education equivalent to an Australian Higher School Certificate (Year 12), plus a level of military commissioning training equivalent to that conducted at the Royal Military College – Duntroon.
You’ll need to have obtained a level of tertiary qualifications for your specialist area of expertise – and qualify for registration with the relevant Australian registration body/authority prior to appointment. You’ll also need to have completed a level of military commissioning equivalent to the Specialist Service Officer course conducted at the Royal Military College – Duntroon.
You’ll need to have completed a level of education equivalent to an Australian Secondary School Certificate (Year 10), plus a level of basic military training equivalent to that conducted at the Army Recruit Training Centre – Kapooka.
Availability of vacancies
It’s important to note that here are many employment categories that are full at certain rank levels and are likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future. However, vacancies change on a regular basis, so your expression of interest will be welcomed as long as you meet the eligibility criteria detailed above.
You’ll only be invited to submit a full application if deemed to be eligible for an appropriate vacancy that arises. If at any stage during the process that vacancy then ceases to be available, your application may be delayed or cancelled.
Click here to see the roles currently available to overseas applicants.
Everything else you need to know
- Expression of Interest
Use the email link below providing as much detail as possible, both in the email fields and your CV/Resume. The latter should focus on your military qualifications and experience.
- Full Application
- Civilian Education Certificates
- Civilian Trade and Course Certificates
- Military Trade and Course Certificates
- Military Service History (Units and Rank/Promotions)
- Annual Performance Appraisal Reports
If your expression of interest is suitable and a potential vacancy has been identified, you will be invited to submit a full application via a pack that will be sent to you electronically. The key components of the application pack are:
- Trade Assessment (if relevant)
Your qualifications and experience will be assessed to ascertain your suitability for an Army vacancy, so it’s important you provide as much information as possible. This initial assessment is carried out by subject matter experts external to DCMS-A and forms the basis of any offer that may be made later in the application process.
If your supporting documents are not in English, you will be required to provide ‘official and endorsed’ English translations. Unfortunately, the DCMS-A is unable to assist with translation services and untranslated documents will not be considered.
- Selection Board Invitation
Once your potential employment category has been confirmed, you will be invited to attend a Selection Board in Canberra or overseas, which generally runs over two consecutive days. You will be given the opportunity to identify your preferred attendance days and, although there is no guarantee given, your attendance dates will be confirmed at least a month beforehand.
- Medical Documents
- ADF Medical Entry Questionnaire
- ADF Entry Level Medical Examination Form
- ADF Dental Clinical Record Form
- ADF Eye Examination Form
- Copy of your military medical and dental documents
Prior to attending the Selection Board, you will need to complete the following documents, which will be provided along with your invitation to attend:
In order to complete these compulsory forms you’ll need to undertake medical, dental and optical examinations through your current service or private medical practitioner.
Only applicants who satisfy the ADF’s initial medical entry standards can be appointed / enlisted into the Army.
- Defence Community Organisation (DCO) Interview
A member of DCO will contact you to discuss aspects of your personal and family situation, availability of support, and general expectations of your potential move to Australia.
- Costs of attendance
Please note that attendance at the Selection Board will be at your own cost and no payments or reimbursements will be provided.
- What to expect
On Day One you will undertake entry psychological testing and a medical review. On Day Two your spouse/partner is welcome to attend information briefings in the morning; however, they will not be included in the formal Selection Board process.
- Letter of Offer
Following the Selection Board, you may be sent a Letter of Offer. This is your formal job offer, which you must either accept or reject within 21 days. It will specify the employment category, rank and pay details along with the initial posting details (unit and location) that you are being offered. Please note that no negotiations will be entered into regarding these details.
- Visa Process
Once you have accepted your Letter of Offer, the DCMS-A will sponsor you for a Subclass 186 visa from the Department of Home Affairs. You will then be provided with the Transaction Reference Number (TRN) that allows you to start the visa application process online. Department of Home Affairs visa processing can take between six and twelve months.
- Resignation from Current Service
As mentioned earlier, you will be required to provide proof of your discharge/separation from current military service (including release from any Reserve service obligations) before being accepted into the Australian Army – and you cannot join whilst on terminal leave.
Before moving to your initial posting location in Australia, you will be required to attend an Australian Embassy or High Commission to confirm your appointment/enlistment. This will generally be immediately prior to your move to Australia.
- Contact details
Please note that Australian Embassy and High Commission staff do not have an active role in the OLRS application process. You should address any correspondence to:
Selections and Appointments Cell
Directorate of Career Management Support – Army
PO BOX 7980
Canberra BC ACT 2610
Start Your Application Now
Now that you know everything about eligibility, selection criteria and vacancies, you may be ready to submit an expression of interest (EOI), remembering that it must have a CV/resume attached.
There is no preferred design or format; however, it should highlight your military career/experience and be submitted in English as a Microsoft Word document or as a PDF file. You must also complete all the fields of the email template linked to below.
Failure to provide the details and attachment will delay or nullify your application.
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