In 2008 Commonwealth origin volunteers comprised approximately 6.7% of the Army’s total strength.
In total 6,600 foreign soldiers from 42 countries were represented in the Army, not including Gurkhas. After Gurkhas, the nation with most citizens in the British Army is Fiji, with 1,900, followed by Jamaica and Ghana with 600 each; soldiers also come from more prosperous countries such as Australia, South Africa and the Republic of Ireland.
Levels of recruitment amongst Irish nationals have also been increasing, and figures for recruitment in Northern Ireland reveal that 16% came from south of the border during 2008. With Levels growing year on year since 2005 and up from 5% in 2006.
The Ministry of Defence now caps the number of recruits from Commonwealth countries at 10% of any corps or regiment in the Army, although this will not affect the Gurkhas. If the trend continues 10% of the army will be from Commonwealth countries before 2012. The cap is still debated, as some fear the army’s “Britishness” is being diluted, and employing too many could make the army seen as employing too many mercenaries.