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WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is implementing a new hiring protocol that could make it significantly harder for foreign scientists to find jobs and research opportunities at the agency, according to interviews and newly obtained documents.

The FDA recently began directing hiring managers not to extend any employment offers — including for fellowship and contractor positions — to any individual who has not lived in the U.S. for at least three of the five previous years, according to briefing materials shared with STAT that have been presented to some agency employees.

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  • As a long-term contractor at an HHS agency, I can tell you that you can’t do anything without a PIV card. You can’t get into any government building, you can’t use a computer or access government computer systems including e-mail, you can’t clock in, you can’t use staff parking. Collaboration across national boundaries is the rule not the exeption in health agencies, many are the designated agents for US participation in international organizations. Bullying by security agencies (FBI, DHS) or cross-government administrative agencies (OPM, OMB) which have no responsibility for actually getting scientific work done is all too common in even the best of administrations, of which this is not one.

  • This article confuses me. Federal agencies may only employ United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) in the competitive service. However, Federal agencies may request OPM approval to appoint a non-citizen, if no qualified U.S. citizens are available.

  • It looks like much ado about nothing (new).
    Most federal agencies (and private companies) already restrict hiring to US citizens and permanent residents ( The latter, by definition implies foreign scientists had to be residing in the US for a number of years. So, it is like putting the dots on the Is, with little changes in practical terms. The only positions still open to fresh (untrustable and drug free) foreign scientists, are low wages postdoc positions.

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