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Does the Affordable Care Act Apply to your Foreign Workforce?

By September 23, 2015May 30th, 2018Immigration, Melissa Nolan Featured

Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. posted in Immigration on Wednesday, September 23, 2015.

By: Melissa Nolan and Peter Gianino

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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Melissa G. Nolan

Melissa G. Nolan

St. Louis attorney Melissa Nolan's practice involves immigration law, as well as estate and tax planning. From helping individual immigrants to ensuring companies' I-9 forms are compliant through audits, Ms. Nolan is dedicated to making sure the laws are followed. Melissa’s estate and tax planning practice includes the preparation of estate planning documents such as wills, revocable trusts, powers of attorney, and health care declarations.

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