MI6 starts recruiting naturalized British citizens after change in rules

MI6BRITAIN’S MAIN EXTERNAL INTELLIGENCE agency has begun hiring foreign-born British citizens for the first time in decades, reportedly in an effort to augment the skillsets of its personnel and diversify its workforce. For much of its history, the Secret Intelligence Service, known informally as MI6, required potential recruits to have been born in the United Kingdom to British-born parents. This excluded British-born children of immigrants to the United Kingdom.

In 2018, however, MI6 shelved the requirement that both parents of employment candidates had to be British-born. Since then, children of immigrants to the United Kingdom could apply for employment, so long as they had been born on British soil and held a British passport. This rule has now been shelved too. From now on, naturalized British citizens will be considered for work at MI6. The only stipulation is that one of their parents must be (or have been, if deceased) a British citizen, or have “substantial ties” to the United Kingdom.

The spy agency states that dual or multiple citizens who are hired to work at MI6 may be required to formally renounce their non-British citizenship(s), “depending on the type of role that they are offered”. reported to a government source cited in the London-based Times newspaper, the change in recruitment practices is aimed at creating a workforce “with a diversification of thought, not people who all think in similar ways”. The change in recruitment rules comes on the heels of a decision last year to lower the minimum age requirement for employment at MI6 from 21 to 18 years.

In a related development, several British newspapers reported last month that the spy agency had begun to recruit for the first time “part-time consultants” with valuable skills or contacts overseas. In several job advertisements that appeared online or in print publications, MI6 said it is seeking candidates with “diverse skill sets and life experiences for part-time and consulting roles”. The advertisements also note that MI6 is looking for “highly desirable individuals” with “expertise in their chosen field”.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 10 February 2021 | Permalink

6 Responses to MI6 starts recruiting naturalized British citizens after change in rules

  1. Mike S Goodmann says:

    Hopefully their methods for vetting applicants aren’t as screwed up as those at the CIA!

  2. Peter Wallerberger says:

    I don’t imagine the CIA’s vetting process is anymore screwed up than MI6’s Mr Goodmann ! Both Departments take far too long to process applicants (in some cases years) for security clearances. I guess if MI6 is going to ‘outsource’ work then they are smart enough to make sure that they don’t engage the services of any young fella’s who happen to be domiciled in HILO ! The U.K angle on hire staff / contractors ensureing they are not people who “think in similar ways” is a brilliant move but I would have to add the following: If an ; essentially, external consultant is inputting Reports to a case officer who is then fileing it with MI6 – Is the senior Officer makeing assessments going to provide such a report to the end Customer in such a form? Or is he going to decide how it should be presented to the Customer – sometimes even based on what the Customer’s preconceived understanding of the situation is ?? This is where it all goes wrong and brilliant intelligence work is destroyed despite best efforts of field officers and analysts – That Sir is a problem not confined to the CIA but endemic within any Government controlled System and not just the Western world either !! I sure I don’t have to give examples of such devastating failures in this regard.

  3. Pete says:

    1. The relaxation in citizenship standards for MI6 staff may be partly in recognition:
    – increasing Chinese ethnicity and language fluency are necessary to meet sharply rising demands for intelligence concerning China, and
    – ethnicity and language fluency of Muslim countries continue to be pressing for MI6’s counter-insurgency and foreign counter-terrorism missions.

    2. The downside of a relaxation in citizenship standards for MI6 staff is the greater possibility staff have vulnerable family/relatives in China or Muslim countries.
    – This increases the risk China or Muslim countries subsequently use threats against family/relatives to “get at” and “turn” Chinese and Muslim staff employed by MI6.

  4. Peter Wallerberger says:

    100% correct Pete – But such vulnerabilities have existed for some time now.The key to identifying issues that may arise with assets initially lies within the Vetting proceedures.So MI6 will have to reinforce and recruit more staff for Vetting and those officers will also have to be able to ‘think differently’. In tandem with this, MI6 will have to heavily reinforce their Counter intelligence staff numbers and they too will have to be capable of ‘thinking outside the square’.Both these sections should ensure their staff are culturally diverse in order to be able to carry out their work successfully.

  5. Pete says:

    Hi Peter Wallerberger

    The need for “culturally diverse” staff breed and more Counter Intelligence (CI) staff brings its own problems:

    – The Vetting and Security Branch of an Intelligence Organisation, instead of being diverse, may typically be white officers on second careers following military or police service.

    – If the relaxation of citizenship standards brings in new intelligence staff who require a significant increase in CI staff numbers, then it might be more prudent not to relax citizen standards in the first place.

  6. Peter Wallerberger says:

    Pete I totally agree with your description of Vetting Officers – therein lies the problem. It was as a result of such ‘institutionalised’, regimented ,old boys club , zenaphobic, even racist attitudes and an inability to change their thought processes which has now led to an outdated archiac vetting system. Sure the Basic relevent questions are still there – almost predictable to any professional But we now live in a different world .Open the curtains and look outside – most of the Western world is now multicultural . This new world is even more complex and fast moveing – vetting people in the New World must be an absolute nightmare. The vetting officers you describe are often just killing time waiting for a nice pension and a well deserved retirement. Such an old boys club certainly didn’t manage to identify Kim Philby or later – Hansen in the U.S.

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