UK security agencies MI5, the Secret Intelligence Service and GCHQ have loosened their hiring requirements so applicants no longer need to have at least one British parent.
Candidates could previously only apply to the agencies if one of their parents was classified as a British citizen or had citizenship from an approved country. From today (2 November), this is no longer the case.
A spokesperson for the agencies said removing the rule would enable the government to hire based on someone’s abilities, rather than where their parents were born.
Candidates themselves must still be a British citizen, and will still need to undergo a rigorous vetting process, looking at their background, lifestyle and personal connections.
A spokesperson speaking on behalf of GCHQ, MI5 and SIS (also known as MI6), said: “We perform best in our mission to keep the nation safe and further the UK’s interests when we reflect the diversity of the country we serve. By recruiting people from the widest possible range of backgrounds, we can innovate, challenge established ways of thinking and welcome the very brightest and best people to join us.
“The parental nationality rule unnecessarily stopped brilliant people from applying to work with us. Removing this blanket rule means that all British citizens who apply for jobs in our agencies can now be assessed on their abilities and not where their parents are from.”