Facts about FSNs/LES
LE refers to “locally employed.” Washington uses this term to indicate that these employees were hired on the local market, as opposed to Foreign Service officers who are hired through the State Department or other foreign affairs agencies.
LE staff are usually nationals of the country where they are employed, but may also include persons of other nationalities who are permanant residents of that country. Since the Rockefeller Amendment of 1996, LE staff may also include American citizens living abroad.
LE staff were originally refered to as Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs), however the name was changed to reflect that fact that not all locally employed staff are citizens of the countries where they work. Nonetheless the term FSN is still widely used as a synonym for LES.
The State Department employs 41,658 Locally Employed Staff (as of 09/2009). Other categories include Foreign Service Employees (9,614), Civil Service Employees (13,829). Source: HR Fact Sheet