Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Revises Hiring Process for Scientists.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is revising their hiring process by making it significantly more difficult for international scientists to gain employment for research opportunities. The FDA has instructed hiring managers not to extend any employment (including for fellowship and/or contractor positions) to any person who has not lived in the United States for at least three of the past five years. These finding were reported by STAT News and shared with agency employees. The cause of the new protocol comes with changes to the background checks that every government employee must undergo to obtain an identification (ID) card.

If other agencies adopt this protocol, it may have an adverse effect on the research community, which includes:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • The Agricultural Department
  • The Environmental Protection Agency


A spokeswoman for the National Institute of Health, which hosts scientists from over 100 countries annually, said the agency will continue to use its current protocol without any stricter residency requirements.

This new policy change will be made effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) starting Sunday, October 1, 2017, and predictions are that some employees felt “dismayed” and “stunned” by the announcement. Scientists described it as “devastating for the agency’s talent pool and recruitment efforts.” They went on to suggest that many key staffers would not pass if the policy was implemented previously. The mandate was issued by the Department of Homeland Security who has authority over the ID cards.

The protocol specifically addressed the application for an ID card known as a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card, which is mandatory for nearly every government employee. In order to obtain the identification card, a standard background check is required. Due to new background check requirements, however, the investigation cannot be completed unless an individual has lived in the United States for three of the last five years.

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