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Hindi, Tamil speaking wanted in the US army

 
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The US Army is wooing skilled immigrants to join it, including those who know Hindi and Tamil, by offering them a chance to become citizens in as little as six months, a media report said.

As part of the army's one-year pilot programme, to begin in New York City, it will recruit about 550 temporary immigrants who speak one or more of 35 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Igbo (a tongue spoken in Nigeria), Kurdish, Nepalese, Pashto, Russian and Tamil, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Spanish speakers are not eligible.

Immigrants, who are permanent residents holding green cards, and have lived in the US for at least two years will be eligible to join, officials said.

If the pilot programme succeeds as Pentagon officials anticipate, it will expand for all branches of the military. For the army, it could eventually provide as many as 14,000 volunteers a year, or about one in six recruits.

Recruiters expect that the immigrants will have more education, foreign language skills and professional expertise than many Americans who enlist, helping the military to fill shortages in medical care, language interpretation and field intelligence analysis.

The army's programme will also include about 300 medical professionals to be recruited nationwide. Recruiting will start after the Department of Homeland officials updates an immigration rule in coming days.

Language experts will have to serve four years of active duty, and health care professionals will serve three years of active duty or six years in the reserves. If the immigrants do not complete their service honourably, they could lose their citizenship, the report said.

About 8,000 permanent immigrants with green cards join the US armed forces annually, the Pentagon reports, and about 29,000 foreign-born people currently serving are not American citizens

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