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How are targeted employment areas determined for an EB-5 visa?

I would like to invest in a direct project in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). Will I need to request TEA-designation myself or are those areas already determined? How can I find out which regions are targeted employment areas? Do targeted employment areas ever become un-designated?

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You will generally need to show that the project is in a MSA and in the area that has experienced an average unemployment rate of 150 percent of the national average. Unemployment rates are found at the official website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Certain states also publish official unemployment data by counties, cities or census tracts. You will need to contact the state government for a TEA designation letter. It is advisable to work with an EB-5 economist to contact the appropriate agency to issue a designation letter unless TEA is already determined. TEA designations can change and must be current. It is possible that you may take advantage of a rural area exception as well if the project is located in a rural area (i.e. not within a MSA and is in a city or town with population under 20,000). This may be documented by the most recent U.S. census data.

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    Lei Jiang

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can contact your state government for designated TEA areas. Yes, TEA designation can be changed. New TEA designations normally come out in April/May.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    TEAs are determined by comparing the unemployment rate within a certain area to the national unemployment rate. For TEA status the area must have an unemployment rate at least 50 percent greater than the national average unemployment rate. Sometimes this figure is described as being "150 percent of the national unemployment rate." A state may designate an agency or individual within the state government to issue TEA designation letters for EB-5 purposes based upon unemployment figures, and the USCIS will defer to such state designations, assuming the numbers are correct and current. Often TEAs are cities, counties, or other areas delineated by a particular census tract or a group of contiguous census tracts. A TEA also can be an area outside of a Metropolitan Statistical Area ("MSA") with a population of less than 20,000. There is no provision to receive a state designation of a rural area. It is the petitioner''s burden to demonstrate TEA status based upon verifiable and accurate unemployment or population numbers. There are various resources available online to obtain the data.

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    Philip H Teplen

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The TEA designations are already determined.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The TEAs are determined by the state governments and are usually political subdivisions such as counties. However, TEAs are also geographical subdivisions and can be determined by a combination of contiguous census tracts. An economist who has expertise in the EB-5 area will be able to assist in determining if a location for a project will be in a TEA.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you are establishing a direct EB-5 project, then you will have to show the project is within a TEA. If you are going the regional center route, it''s very likely the project will already be determined to be in a TEA. Sometimes, TEA designations can change, so if you are relying on the statements from a regional center, make sure to double check before submitting your I-526, and definitely retain a U.S. immigration attorney to assist you with this petition.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    By definition, a targeted employment area (TEA) is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area, or an area experiencing or that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average. A rural area is any area outside of a metropolitan area or city or town with a population of less than 20,000 according to a decennial census. Unlike designated regional centers, there is no official list of predetermined TEAs. Only the individual state Department of Labor can designate the TEA in its own state. You can request the info from them and they have to pull that info together for you, or provide the address where the project is located, and they can issue a confirmation that it is located in a TEA or not.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You have to check with the particular state. Each governor assigns some department to make the determination. Yes, areas can lose their designation depending on the unemployment statistics.

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    Cory A Richards

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    According to both the May 30 Policy Memorandum and 8 C.F.R. ? 204.6(i): "a state government may designate a geographic or political subdivision within its boundaries as a targeted employment area based on high unemployment. Before the state may make such a designation, an official of the state must notify USCIS of the agency, board, or other appropriate governmental body of the state that will be delegated the authority to certify that the geographic or political subdivision is a high unemployment area." A high unemployment area is defined as 150 percent of the national unemployment rate.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Targeted Employment Areas are those areas where the unemployment is 150 percent higher than the national unemployment as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Currently, as the national unemployment rate is about 7 percent, the TEA should have an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent as reported by the state where the business is located. Because the unemployment numbers change all the time, the TEA areas could become non-TEA and the other way around. A TEA letter must be shown as current at the time of filing the I-526 petition.

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    Michael A Harris

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    For a direct EB-5 project, a designation from a state government is highly advisable. USCIS does not require one from a state; the USCIS can review the data that you have. But USCIS is likely to give deferential treatment to a state finding. Targeted Employment Areas or TEAs are determined by unemployment data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Each state governor''s office can advise USCIS which office shall be responsible for designating TEAs. Hence, each state government will process TEA requests differently. TEAs are generally evaluated on a yearly basis and can cease to be TEAs. But you are given some protection by USCIS: the date of your investment or date of filing an I-526 can have the effect of securing its TEA status.

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