Friday, November 11, 2011

Ferrying past immigration laws?

I would love for this to better expose to shame the current farce that is US immigration policy.
This is what Blueseed is attempting to do, but instead of gambling, they are taking the issues around not being able to get H1B immigration visas head on:
Blueseed aims to provide an alternative solution to the US work visa problem for Silicon Valley and allow professionals lacking a visa to legally work in close proximity to companies and investors from the Valley.

Blueseed plans to do this by providing living and office accommodations on a vessel anchored 12 nautical miles [or 13.8 miles] offshore from California (half an hour by ferry), in international waters outside the jurisdiction of the United States...

...I agree with Greg Anderson from ArticStartup, who wrote, "As an American citizen, I don’t know if I should feel really impressed or disappointed about Blueseed’s plans."

...While [Max Marty, director of Blueseed,] was in college in Florida, he made friends with amazing and talented people from around the world and after they graduated, they found it incredibly difficult to stay in the US. Most returned home where they started their professional careers, even though that wasn’t what they wanted.

See also the comments at Hacker News.

Why not? Here on the border, folks cross over and back between the two Laredos all the time. Folks on this boat wouldn't have permission to be employed in the US, but someone could call himself an "independent contractor" and visit the US five days a week to do frequent "business" with his "client." But what's to stop Congress+President from closing this loophole? On the other hand, if Congress and the President wouldn't mind this stunt, nor mind its subsequent imitation on a larger scale, then why not just fix the H-1B visa shortage?

If the goal is to pressure Congress and the president to fix the H-1B shortag, then it might work. But will Blueseed ever turn a profit? Why would the political equilibrium stabilize at "they can work here and play here, just not sleep here (until they marry US citizens)"? Even if Blueseed succeeded, I think their success would soon attract less scrupulous imitators who would provoke popular demand to expand US jurisdiction beyond 12 nautical miles offshore. Think offshore brothels and ships full of slaves "indentured laborers."

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