From the Believe it or Not Files: Off Shore Entrepreneurs May Ferry to Silicon Valley

Published on December 26th, 2011

Wow! Topping this effort to subvert U.S. immigration laws might be impossible. But then again, when it comes to creative methods to skirt immigration regulations, where there’s a will among the eager foreign-born, there’s a way.

One imaginative California-based technology firm has drafted preliminary plans to dock a vessel off the coast to give foreign-born entrepreneurs a chance to start a Silicon Valley firm—on a ship. [For Foreign Entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley on a Boat, Fox News Latino, December 16, 2011]

Sunnyvale-based Blueseed Company says current immigration rules work against job creation and stymie growth. But the proposed ship—which is the idea of Max Marty, Blueseed’s founder, Chief Executive Officer and son of Cuban immigrants—would create a work place for entrepreneurs that would be only a short boat ride away from the East Bay’s high-tech headquarters.

Dario Mutabdzija, Blueseed's president, explained the concept. According to Mutabdzija, there are several examples of individuals living and working off shore including cruise ships, oil rigs and military aircraft carriers.

The ship Blueseed envisions would accommodate about 1,000 people, be docked in international waters 12 miles southwest of San Francisco Bay and be registered in a country with a reputable legal system like the Bahamas or the Marshall Islands. Residents would be subject to that nation’s laws and in possession of either an easily obtained business or tourist visa, would then be ferried ashore for their meetings.

The idea has supporters and critics. Among those opposed is the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) spokesman Bob Dane. According to Dane:

"I would say the whole thing is a perfect metaphor for how in corporate America the practice to grow talent and incubate business locally is drifting away — quite literally."

On the other hand, advocates for more immigration and more lenient visa requirements like Blueseed’s concept.

John Feinblatt, the Partnership for a New American Economy’s spokesman, said:

"The ship may sound like a crazy idea but it illustrates how seriously flawed the immigration system here is."

The usual Congressional suspects are also in favor including Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., John Kerry, D-Mass and Richard Lugar, R-Ind. who have reintroduced the Startup Visa Act.

While Blueseed will need $10 and $30 million in construction financing to launch its ship by 2013, the project could (and hopefully will) sink from its own weight. Maritime experts say that although impractical it could be brought to fruition but not without an expense far greater than projected to cover all the possible contingencies.

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