The immigration law firm houston tx explains Targeted Employment Areas


A Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is a region of the United States where the investment requirement for an EB-5 visa is $900,000 (rather than the typical $1,800,000 level for the United States as a whole).

High unemployment areas (defined as places with unemployment greater than 150 percent of the national average calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and rural areas are the two types of TEAs (defined as areas outside a Metropolitan Statistical Area).The immigration law firm houston tx explains Targeted Employment Areas in this article.

EB-5 and TEA

Getting a targeted employment area (TEA) designation for an EB-5 project might be crucial for EB-5 investors. If the EB-5 project is executed in a TEA, the required EB-5 investment amount is reduced from $1.8 million to $900,000. The EB-5 project must be located in either a rural area or a high-unemployment area in order to be classified as a TEA. The I-526 petition of an EB-5 investor asks for a targeted employment area designation. If you invest in a regional center, the regional center should be able to show you proof that the project is located in a TEA. To read immigration articles in spanish do checkout mejores abogados de inmigración.

Recent Changes in TEA

The way project locations might qualify as TEAs has changed dramatically in recent years. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization regulation in the Federal Register on July 24, 2019, and it took effect on November 21, 2019. The following are the major TEA-related program changes:

  • For high-unemployment TEAs, census tract aggregation is now considerably more constrained: census tract aggregation is now confined to the project tract(s) plus part or all of the tracts «immediately contiguous» to the project tract. To put it another way, a TEA that relies on census tract combinations can only combine tracts that intersect the project tract. The use of census block groups (a census tract is made up of numerous block groups) is no longer permitted (only census tracts), limiting the flexibility formerly available under the previous standards.
  • Individual states’ capacity to designate high-unemployment areas has been taken away by the Department of Homeland Security. Instead, such decisions will be made by DHS at the I-526 stage. Investor applications will need to include sufficient proof (such as a TEA opinion letter) establishing that the project location fits the revised conditions for the decreased investment threshold ($900,000) instead of a state-issued letter, as was previously required.

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