The targeted employment area (TEA) is a rural area or an area distinguished by unemployment rate that would benefit from the economic development brought by foreign investors. To encourage investment in these areas, the required EB-5 investment amount for projects located in TEA is lower than for projects located outside these areas. recently, investment in a TEA project requires only $500,000 instead of the usual $1,000,000.
The EB-5 investors are driven by the intention to obtain green cards, which means the opportunity to risk less capital is attractive. Consequently, it is often easier to find the required number of investors for EB-5 projects located within TEA. However, TEA nomination benefits communities, investors, and project developers. Investors and project developers can request TEA selection for areas that qualify. Speak with mejores abogados de inmigración for more information.
Types of TEA Designation
To acquire a TEA designation, an EB-5 project must be located in either an area with high unemployment or in a rural area. Additionally, state agencies have the authority to nominate specific areas as TEA to ensure that the program meets the unique needs of local populations.
High Unemployment TEA
To qualify as a high unemployment TEA, an area must have an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average. For example, the United States national unemployment rate was 5.32% in 2019. Therefore, to summarize a high unemployment TEA based on this calculation, an area would had to have an unemployment rate of at least 7.98%.
High-unemployment TEA can include cities and towns with a population higher than 20,000 residents, according to the most recent 10-year United States Census, in or outside metropolitan statistical areas (MSA), as identified by the Office of Management and Budget.
To qualify as a rural TEA, a project location must not be within an MSA or on the outer borders of a town or city with a population of more than 20,000 residents, according to the most recent 10-year U.S. Census.
Key Facts about TEA Designation
- Projects sponsored by the USCIS approved regional centers generally fall within TEA areas. To find out whether a project is within a TEA, consult immigration law firm houston tx
- The TEA designation process is unnecessary for investors who want to invest the full required amount in EB-5 projects (currently $1,000,000). Only those who want to invest the smaller amount of $500,000 need to invest in TEA.
- TEA designation occurs at the state level.
Securing TEA Designation
EB-5 investors must submit applications to the relevant state agency for both types of TEA designation.
When requesting a TEA designation letter, an investor must submit supporting data and documentation to prove that the area qualifies based on verifiable unemployment statistics or that supports the claim that the target area qualifies as a rural TEA. Therefore, the investor should describe the procedure used to support the argument that the area qualifies as a TEA. When the EB-5 investor submits the I-526 petition, the TEA letter is included in the application pack to prove that both the investor and the project qualified for the lower investment amount.
Three types of evidence that are acceptable for requesting TEA designation:
- Geographic data and population statistics obtained from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget that proves that an area qualifies as a rural TEA
- Up-to-date unemployment data obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program showing that the area meets the requirements for a high unemployment TEA
- Additional statistical documentation published by a third party regarding unemployment and the population in the target area that supports the request for TEA designation
Because unemployment rates and population levels change over time, geographic areas that previously qualified as TEA may no longer qualify in the future. Consequently, investors cannot base their claims that they qualify for the lower investment amount on the fact that immigrant investors who invested in the same project at an earlier date qualified for the lower amount. Therefore, each investor must prove that the project location qualifies as a TEA at the time of investment or at the time of filing the I-526 petition, as set out in chapter 2, sec 5 of the USCIS Policy Manual.
Investors do not need to prove that the area remains a TEA at the time of filing the Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, Form I-829. If the unemployment rate in the area decreased, for example, between the initial TEA designation and the filing of the I-829 petition, the investment contributed to increasing employment levels and hence contributed to the aims of the EB-5 program. See usa investment immigration for more detail.