A government policy on the ID cards, implemented in 2008, stipulates that applicants must have lived in the country for at least three of the preceding five years in order to complete the background check—but it also suggests that those who do not meet the requirement can be hired and use a different type of card until eligible.
An FDA document obtained by STAT states that the agency’s hiring change is due to a January 2017 update to that policy. Yet, “an HHS spokesman said the internal document did not include new policies on a residency requirement,” the outlet reports.
The order, expected to take effect October 1, will not apply to current employees. Nevertheless, two FDA staffers tell STAT they were “dismayed” and “stunned” by the policy change, and that it will affect “a huge chunk of the scientific workforce.”