MI6 Recruiting Foreign Born Spies to Increase ‘Diversity’

A woman wearing a face mask walks past an image of James Bond actor Daniel Craig in a shop window in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on April 28, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

The United Kingdom’s equivalent to the CIA has admitted that it has begun recruiting foreign-born spies for the first time in a supposed bid to increase “diversity”.

The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), more commonly known as MI6, will officially expand its recruitment of candidates to those born outside of the UK, however, they will still require to have a British passport.

A source within Whitehall told The Times on Wednesday that the overseas spy agency wants to have access to the “biggest talent pool”.

“If you narrow the criteria to a British national you will end up with lots of people who are British and educated at red-brick universities. We want a diversification of thought, a diverse workforce, not people who all think in similar ways.

“It is about having a good mix of minds. But also, by having different nationalities from different backgrounds, we can be more effective at spying,” the source said.

The new rules may require that dual citizenship candidates forgo their non-British citizenship.

MI6 will still require that candidates have at least one parent with “substantial ties to the UK” or is or was a British citizen.

Last month, the Daily Star reported on a series of recruitment advertisements from the security agency to field part-time “James Bond-style” spies, offering the opportunity to “spice up dull lives” for both “UK and foreign nationals alike.”

One advert entitled “Tell Me A Secret”, said: “The Secret Intelligence Service seeks individuals with diverse skill sets and life experiences for part-time and consulting roles to enhance our core mission.”

People of Chinese and Russian heritage are reportedly on the top of the list for desired recruits.

“MI6 is basically saying to anyone fed up with their country’s regime that they can work for British intelligence part-time,” a source told the paper.

“They would travel on business or holiday. That will be very attractive for a corporate executive looking to spice up an otherwise dull life,” the source added.

In 2019, MI6 released its first advertisement on YouTube. The ad was set in a barbershop, in an apparent attempt to recruit more black and ethnic minority spies.

“It’s not about finding the secret button for your ejector seat. It’s finding common ground with a stranger, anywhere. And gaining their trust,” the advert said.

“MI6, secretly we’re just like you,” the advert concluded.

The loosening of official requirements for the spy agency began in 2018 when then Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service Sir Alex Younger scrapped the century-old requirement that spies must have two British born parents, allowing the children of migrants to enter the service for the first time.

“The Service I am proud to lead is global, modern, and most capable with a deserved reputation of being one of the best intelligence agencies in the world,” Sir Alex said.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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