Parental nationality will no longer come in the way of British citizens applying for jobs in the country’s top intelligence agencies.
The Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ), MI5 and Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) have said the requirement for candidates to have at least one parent who is British or from an approved list of other countries has been scrapped.
Coming into effect from Wednesday (2), the change in the rule widens the talent pool for recruitment and is expected to improve diversity in the workforce of the spy organisations.
However, the requirement for applicants to be British nationals remains intact.
A spokesperson speaking for the spy agencies said they would “perform best” when they “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 spokesperson said.
The scrapping of the parental nationality rule, which “unnecessarily” prevented talented aspirants from applying to work with organisations, meant “all British citizens who apply for jobs in our agencies can now be assessed on their abilities and not where their parents are from”, they said.
The thorough vetting process, which looks at applicants’ background, lifestyle and personal connections to identify and manage any risks, continues to remain in place for hiring at jobs at GCHQ, MI5 and SIS.
The spy organisations deal with some of the toughest challenges facing the kingdom, from seeing patterns in a sea of data to undertaking surveillance to prevent a terror attack.
“We need the right mix of minds and skills to respond to threats and seize new opportunities to create a safer and more prosperous country,” the agencies said.
Although there is little information in the public domain about the selection process, it is believed to be stringent.