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Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

Old Dec 13th 2018, 12:57 am
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Default Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

I recently took a job in the treasury management department of a company who service federal and commercial student loans. It's a job with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which requires a federal clearance. I worked for this company once before (between April and August - I left for health reasons, and came back to a different department) without issue - my federal clearance was returned promptly and I was put to work straight away - but in the months since, they've changed their on-boarding process for new hires and federal clearances. Because of that, I had to go through the clearance process again and this time I had to wait until it came back before I could be granted access to private information pertaining to federal loans (rightly so, in my opinion). So, until today, I'd been patiently waiting for my clearance to go through and had been working on commercial admin in the meantime.

I was called into HR this afternoon and told that my clearance had come back, and that I would not be able to remain in my current job because "non US citizens are no longer allowed access to federal records". She explained this rule is not just in our company, but has become the rule in federal loan servicers nationwide. Why this was not communicated to HR prior to today is beyond me. Both my manager and the lady in HR were incredibly kind and went out of their way to find a new position for me within the company (one that deals in commercial loans only - such departments are thin on the ground), but it has meant a quite sizable pay-cut, a shift change (I'll now be on 2nd shift, working until 9pm, which is the shift I was on between April and August and I'm loathed to have to do that again. But here we are!), and it's in a department that doesn't offer much in the way of advancement. Unless or until I become a citizen of the United States, I will be very limited as to where I can move within the company should I choose to stay with it.

I just feel a little bit sad. I'm writing this here because I'm hoping for a bit of solidarity, I guess. It's a bummer feeling discriminated against, whether it's for good reason or otherwise. I'm trying to see the positives: this is a permanent position, where the one in treasury management was long-term temporary. I still have a job, and that could very easily not have been the case today - I am lucky that they went out of their way to keep me. As a permanent employee, I will be paid for holidays (it's a shame this didn't happen before Thanksgiving). And I suppose it might be easier for me to move up the ladder within this department, it being one that takes people with no experience or qualifications at entry-level, compared to Treasury Management where they all hold accounting degrees (my Bachelor's is an Arts degree. Oops!).

2019 had better be better.

Last edited by KK85; Dec 13th 2018 at 1:34 am.
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Old Dec 13th 2018, 1:22 am
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

Hang on in there. As you say it is permanent, you get paid vacation and holidays, and in due course you will be able to naturalise. You have been an LPR for just over a year now? So less than two years until you can apply to become a USC. After a bit (prove reliability and ability) you can ask to be considered for a different shift, and there may be other opportunities for non-citizens that reveal themselves in the meantime.

PS what are you doing on Monday, as I will be passing through Harrisburg on my way to pick up elder son from IAD.....
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Old Dec 13th 2018, 1:29 am
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

I'm really sorry to hear that the change in rules caused you to lose your position, it must be a huge blow for you. Reading your post, I was struck by how rationally and optimistically you're viewing the situation, despite your very understandable disappointment. Exactly the sort of person that any employer would value, and the fact that HR worked so hard to find you an alternative position demonstrates that you are indeed valued.

With your experience and obvious emotional intelligence, I reckon you'll end up running that commercial loan department! Best wishes to you and your family for a great Christmas and a happy, successful 2019
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Old Dec 13th 2018, 1:41 am
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

Originally Posted by lizzyq View Post
Hang on in there. As you say it is permanent, you get paid vacation and holidays, and in due course you will be able to naturalise. You have been an LPR for just over a year now? So less than two years until you can apply to become a USC. After a bit (prove reliability and ability) you can ask to be considered for a different shift, and there may be other opportunities for non-citizens that reveal themselves in the meantime.

PS what are you doing on Monday, as I will be passing through Harrisburg on my way to pick up elder son from IAD.....
Lizzyq, thank you for your kind words, as always. Everything you've said is absolutely right, and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to get that shift swap before the summer, at least. And indeed, who knows what else will come up in the meantime!

Monday sees my first shift in the new job. I'll be on training hours for at least the first week, so depending on what time you're passing through, I could be around at the same time - they're going to confirm the schedule with me tomorrow. Most likely finishing at 4.30pm, I imagine.

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
I'm really sorry to hear that the change in rules caused you to lose your position, it must be a huge blow for you. Reading your post, I was struck by how rationally and optimistically you're viewing the situation, despite your very understandable disappointment. Exactly the sort of person that any employer would value, and the fact that HR worked so hard to find you an alternative position demonstrates that you are indeed valued.

With your experience and obvious emotional intelligence, I reckon you'll end up running that commercial loan department! Best wishes to you and your family for a great Christmas and a happy, successful 2019
You flatter! Thank you so much for your supportive and kind words - what a gorgeous treat at the end of a bonkers day. Merry Christmas to you and yours, too!
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Old Dec 13th 2018, 1:47 am
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

Consider it a temp position. You are in the US already nearly a year as Lizzy pointed out and 90 before the third anniversary of your residency you can apply for naturalization. Imagine how lovely it will be to walk into the HR department with your spanking new naturalization certificate and ask to be transferred to the federal loan department. In the interim, you gain experience and time in for your resume (cv) and are earning money to put towards a car purchase for yourself. It is not where you want to be but you are such a level-headed person that you know it is a win-win situation for yourself.
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Old Dec 13th 2018, 2:13 am
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

I’m here to dish up a virtual hug and second all the positive comments from the other posters. You obviously have the support of your employers, too — they had no option but to make this change because of legalities. Hope you are soon able to switch to a better shift. And before you know it you will be a citizen, and so many opportunities will open up for you!
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Old Dec 13th 2018, 2:59 am
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

Kind of surprised this happened when the government has been quite protective of green card holders
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Old Dec 13th 2018, 11:17 am
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

I agree with others, hang in there. It sounds like a reasonable company that has done their best to accommodate you, even though they didn't have to.
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Old Dec 13th 2018, 11:25 am
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

I'm sorry that this has happened K, and it sucks, but frankly I'm surprised that a GC Holder was ever allowed to go near Federal information. It has been known on this board for some time that if the words 'security clearance' are involved LPRs need not apply.

It being the case that you were able too, it does not surprise me that that changed under the current administration. Sometimes you have to move back to move forward. I was demoted because of a takeover at our hospital a few years back, and ended up demoted into a role that in fact got me noticed more than the old one would have, CFO of the facility 1.5 years later. Sometimes it's a good thing.

Knowing you, this isn't the sort of work that you want to be doing anyway, so get out there and do something towards your passion!

Last edited by civilservant; Dec 13th 2018 at 11:32 am. Reason: 'Goof' thing????
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Old Dec 13th 2018, 2:38 pm
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

Fair play to you on seeing the positive side of it when it could be all to easy to say f it and walk away. Sounds like you've got decent management at least.
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Old Dec 13th 2018, 11:53 pm
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

Thank you all so much for your generous words of encouragement and support. It has been exactly the empathetic-expat pat on the back that I needed - thank you. You are all very kind.

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
I'm sorry that this has happened K, and it sucks, but frankly I'm surprised that a GC Holder was ever allowed to go near Federal information. It has been known on this board for some time that if the words 'security clearance' are involved LPRs need not apply.
Thank you, ol' pal. Can you tell me, are the terms 'security clearance' and 'federal clearance' (<--- the latter are the words on my paperwork) one in the same thing? I've tried researching my situation since coming home this evening, and everything that comes up when I search the term 'federal clearance' seems to suggest the two terms might be interchangeable. But I'm also seeing words like 'confidential' and 'top secret' being used to describe levels of security clearance (those, it certainly does seem, are very, very rarely passed for green card holders) and surely those aren't the levels of clearance required for a job like mine? I'm not trying to work for the MoD. Is it the same paperwork, and therefore I'll probably fall under the umbrella of 'very, very unlikely' to be granted the clearance? Not that it will help much, given the circumstances, but I'm curious to understand.

Today was my last day in the job, and tomorrow I should hear back about what happens next. There was a minor setback today when I learned, according to HR, that there are still 'moving pieces that need to be put in place' before they can confirm that a new job will be waiting for me on Monday after all. I imagine they will find it quite difficult to place me in a role where there will be zero access to federal data. I've a funny old feeling that this may not end favourably.

Glad to hear that your own temporary setback turned out to be a positive change for you in the end, CS! Tis often the way.

Edit: The form I completed was a Standard Form 86. Under further investigation, it would appear that this form is indeed used for 'security' clearances, so I guess the term is interchangeable. They say it is used for civilian employment as well as military etc. So I suppose that answers my question!

Last edited by KK85; Dec 14th 2018 at 12:09 am.
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Old Dec 14th 2018, 11:41 am
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

But I'm also seeing words like 'confidential' and 'top secret' being used to describe levels of security clearance (those, it certainly does seem, are very, very rarely passed for green card holders) and surely those aren't the levels of clearance required for a job like mine? I'm not trying to work for the MoD.
I would assume that the 2 are pretty much interchangeable, just as they are in the UK. The US, like the UK, has different levels of clearance depending on the nature of the information needing to be accessed. What you need sounds more like what a UK BPSS or CTC would be needed for, it doesn't sound like anything more extensive then that.

I did work for the MOD after I left where we worked together, and I can tell you that the higher level of clearances are a pain to get. BTW it's the DOD in the US

They say it is used for civilian employment as well as military etc.
Again, same as in the UK. I was civilian staff in the MOD and still had to complete an old MG form. What is now NSV001. All 60-odd pages of it!
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Old Dec 14th 2018, 2:09 pm
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
I would assume that the 2 are pretty much interchangeable, just as they are in the UK. The US, like the UK, has different levels of clearance depending on the nature of the information needing to be accessed. What you need sounds more like what a UK BPSS or CTC would be needed for, it doesn't sound like anything more extensive then that.

I did work for the MOD after I left where we worked together, and I can tell you that the higher level of clearances are a pain to get. BTW it's the DOD in the US



Again, same as in the UK. I was civilian staff in the MOD and still had to complete an old MG form. What is now NSV001. All 60-odd pages of it!
Just heard a friend of mine. a Kiwi who's been in the UK for getting on for 30 years but never naturalized, got turned down for a consulting gig with the UK Department for Business on the grounds that it involved a small amount of MoD work and he's not a British Citizen! The absurdity is that as a Commonwealth citizen with UK legal residency he'd be fully qualified to stand for Parliament and eventually become Prime Minister!
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Old Dec 14th 2018, 2:30 pm
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

Non-UKCs are not eligible for UKG Security Clearances. Even a UKC is not eligible if they have lived abroad at any time less than 5 years ago. Mine was cancelled when I left my job to move to the US.
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Old Dec 14th 2018, 2:43 pm
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Default Re: Demoted because I'm not a US citizen

Originally Posted by rpjs View Post
Just heard a friend of mine. a Kiwi who's been in the UK for getting on for 30 years but never naturalized, got turned down for a consulting gig with the UK Department for Business on the grounds that it involved a small amount of MoD work and he's not a British Citizen! The absurdity is that as a Commonwealth citizen with UK legal residency he'd be fully qualified to stand for Parliament and eventually become Prime Minister!
Side issue I know, but I wouldn't vote for anyone who'd been resident in my country for 30 years but hadn't bothered to become a citizen.
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