With the release of the finalized unemployment data from calendar year 2017, we have updated our Annual EB-5 Targeted Employment Area Map to reflect the most up-to-date unemployment data for census tracts.
* Sign up for the May 2nd Webinar here *
* New unemployment threshold is 6.6% *
The Impact DataSource TEA Map shows potential Targeted Employment Areas (“TEAs”) for projects under the EB-5 Program. As of this release date, TEA rules remain the same as in previous years, and they are still certified via the appropriate state authority.
TEAs can be areas of high unemployment or areas that meet certain rural definitions. In the map, census tracts that meet the definitions for high unemployment TEAs on their own are shown in orange, and census tracts that meet (may meet) the definitions of rural TEAs are shown in blue (blue-green). These areas have been determined using the census-share methodology – which is the methodology utilized by most states for determining TEA eligibility.
Under current definitions, TEAs may also be formed by combining adjacent census tracts to create a combined area that meets the high unemployment criteria – so just because a certain location does not meet the criteria for a high unemployment TEA on its own does not necessarily mean that it does not qualify at all. In fact, we can help you determine if a certain location may qualify by combining census tracts.
As most of our readers know, the yearly update is extremely important, especially if investors plan on submitting I-526 petitions after this release date. To avoid possible questions and/or RFEs from USCIS, TEA certifications included in I-526 petitions should utilize the most recent data that the state is using at the time of the filing. Outdated TEAs is one of the most common questions in RFEs, so staying updated is a key issue for stakeholders.
Wondering if you need a new TEA letter? See our discussion here.
The new unemployment threshold for an area to qualify as a high unemployment TEA is 6.6%, which is based on 150% of the the 2017 national unemployment rate of 4.4%.
Webinar: What You Need to Know This Year
Join us for our annual webinar discussing the newly released map and what you need to know about TEAs this year. We will address questions such as:
- What does the data update mean for me and my project?
- Will I need a new TEA certification letter?
- Will the definitions of TEAs change?
- How do I use the map?
Some Common Questions
What is a TEA?
The concept of TEAs was introduced in the EB-5 Program’s original legislation as an incentive to define geographies where developments under the EB-5 Program may have an extra impact in the creation of jobs and economic growth – and hence allow for a lower minimum investment amount by the EB-5 immigrant investors.
How are high unemployment TEAs determined?
Under current practice, high unemployment TEAs are determined according to the methodology established by the state authority. Since USCIS requires that a TEA be determined based on the most up-to-date data available, almost all states utilize the census-share method, which combines the most recent Census data with the most recent BLS data. Currently, these sources are: the 2012–2016 5-Year American Community Survey (“ACS”) from the Census, and the 2017 Local Area Unemployment Survey from the BLS. The finalized 2017 unemployment data from the BLS was released April 20, 2018. A few states may use different methodologies and/or data sources; please ask us if you have questions about your state.
How long does it take to get a TEA letter?
States can vary significantly on the labor force data they use, how flexible they are with TEA configurations, and what data and support they require to consider a high unemployment TEA request, they can also differ in how long it takes for them to provide the actual TEA letter, (assuming the project site qualifies at all based on the state’s individual methodologies). See our discussion about the timeline for getting your TEA letter here.
Impact DataSource is an industry leader in EB-5 economic analysis (job creation reports) and TEA analysis.