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Does the Affordable Care Act Apply to your Foreign Workforce?

By September 23, 2015July 21st, 2023Immigration, Melissa Nolan Featured

By: Melissa Nolan

On October 1st, thousands of foreign workers will begin employment in the U.S. in H-1B immigration status. For some, this will be their first time working in the U.S. They likely will have many questions for their co-workers and HR staff about taxes, Social Security, health care, etc. They will almost certainly be curious about the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), and how it applies to non-U.S. citizen workers.

Workers present in the U.S. in H-1B status, as well as workers present with many other types of immigration status, will be subject to the “individual mandate” of ACA. The individual mandate makes the worker eligible to purchase a health insurance plan through the health exchange, but imposes a tax penalty on the individual if the individual and his dependent family members do not have such a health insurance plan.

Generally, all non-citizens who are “lawfully present” in the U.S., as defined by the ACA, are subject to the ACA’s individual mandate. Some of the more common types of immigration statuses an employer might see are: a lawful permanent resident (“green card” holder), an H-1B visa holder, an L-visa holder, an F-1 visa holder, and an O-1 visa holder. Each of these statuses represents someone who is lawfully present in the U.S. under the ACA.

Foreign workers are likely to have many questions when beginning work for the first time in the U.S. It is extremely important that the employer have a designated individual who is educated on a variety of matters, including eligibility criteria for health insurance and the ACA, and particularly how these issues apply to foreign workers. The more educated your foreign workers are about these issues, the better they can adjust to their new community and to their position with your organization.

If you have any questions about how the ACA or any other regulatory or employment issue might apply to your foreign workforce, please contact the immigration attorneys at Paule, Camazine, and Blumenthal.


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