EB5 Affiliate Network Announces ACS Unemployment Data Update for its Free Targeted Employment Area Map
EB5 Affiliate Network (EB5AN), a leading EB-5 service provider, has updated the employment data on its targeted employment area (TEA) map for EB-5 visa investment projects across the United States. The TEA map has been updated to the most current American Community Survey (ACS) five-year (2015-2019) employment data by census tract. Join EB5AN for an upcoming webinar on Thursday, January 14th at 2:00 PM EDT for a Webinar on this TEA map data update and to learn more about future EB-5 project TEA qualification.
One of the most important innovations of EB5AN’s free national TEA map is the ability to instantly download a TEA qualification report. To assess whether a project site qualifies as a TEA, EB5AN’s TEA map uses all four approved methodologies permitted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The TEA map also indicates whether a project site is eligible for sponsorship through a USCIS-approved EB5AN regional center.
To meet USCIS requirements and be approved for a green card, EB-5 investors must submit a formal TEA qualification report as part of their Form I-526 petition. This report must be based on verifiable third-party data and must clearly show proper use of a methodology accepted by USCIS. EB5AN’s new TEA map allows users to instantly download a full TEA qualification report for free.
A project site can qualify as a TEA either due to high unemployment or if it is in a rural area. To qualify as a high unemployment TEA, the site must have an unemployment rate at least 150% above the national average. To determine high unemployment TEA eligibility, USCIS accepts three methodologies. To qualify as a rural TEA, the project must be outside of a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and cannot be within a town or city of more than 20,000 people. To determine rural eligibility, USCIS accepts one methodology. A project site needs to qualify under only one of these four methodologies to officially qualify as a TEA.
EB5AN’s TEA map assesses rural TEA qualification using geographical region information determined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget along with population data from the latest decennial census. The map also assesses high unemployment TEA qualification using the following three USCIS-accepted methodologies: (1) the ACS methodology, which uses American Community Survey (ACS) five-year data by census tract; (2) the census share methodology, which uses a combination of ACS five-year data by census tract and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data by county; and (3) the county-level methodology, which uses BLS data for an entire county.
If a census tract does not qualify on its own, directly adjacent census tracts can be grouped together to create a custom area that uses the weighted average unemployment rate across any grouped census tracts. EB5AN’s new TEA map expedites this otherwise tedious process by automatically combining census tracts, eliminating any guesswork or errors in determining TEA qualification.
EB5AN’s TEA map is based on the latest available employment data, with the most recent data update occurring in December 2020 for ACS 2015-2019 data by census tract. EB5AN updates the map’s underlying data twice a year, once in April when BLS data related to the census share and county level methodologies is released, and once in December when ACS data is updated.
Additionally, EB5AN’s new TEA map automatically shows whether a project site falls within the geographic coverage area of one of EB5AN’s 14 USCIS approved regional centers and is thus eligible for immediate project sponsorship. In 2020, approximately 95% of all EB-5 visa projects were sponsored by an EB-5 regional center. Regional center sponsorship holds numerous benefits, including reduced immigration risk and favorable job calculation treatment.
Sam Silverman, managing partner of EB5AN, highlighted the time and cost savings offered by the company’s new TEA map: “Attempting to confirm TEA eligibility without relying on expert help can be frustrating and difficult. Aside from having to identify data sets that align with USCIS requirements related to validity, verifiability, and internal consistency, the calculations themselves can be challenging, and getting it wrong can cause significant delays and increased costs for the EB-5 visa investment process. With our new TEA map, a user can immediately see whether a project site anywhere in the United States qualifies as a TEA. Once TEA qualification is confirmed, the user can instantly generate the TEA qualification report needed in support of TEA designation without incurring any further professional fees.”
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