Blueseed: Getting Around Visa Requirements for Fun and Profit

It isn't exactly a "new country" plan for libertarians, but kind of: Blueseed, a company spun off by former associates of the Seasteading Institute, is a step closer to a functional tech-company campus floating in international waters off of the coast of Silicon Valley as they announced last week some venture capital funding (in yet unspecified amounts). See Reason 24/7's report from earlier today.

I've previously written at Reason about their survey of 181 potential startup company users, which found:

Although the company very much front-and-centers visa issues (avoiding them) as a key part of its appeal, having "An alternative to having to get US work visas for my employees" was very important or critical for only 29.5 surveyed, though 44.6 said "An alternative to having to get US work visas for myself or other company founders" was very important or critical.

A whopping 88.3 listed as very important or critical this: "Living and working in an awesome startup- and technology- oriented space." Indeed, while government is an ever-present annoyance in many respects, there are some things in life more important than worrying about what government is, or is not, doing.

38.1 percent of the respondents said they would move to a Blueseed floating environment "immediately" if it met their needs; another 50.1 percent said they'd do so within a year.

Blueseed founder and CEO Max Marty told Reason in our May issue what would be so great about running your tech company offshore, for you and the world:

By building a workaround for America’s antiquated and overly restrictive immigration requirements for foreign-born entrepreneurs, Blueseed will create a means by which global innovators can bring new companies and technologies to grow near Silicon Valley’s fertile startup soil.

By helping incubate new and innovative companies off the Silicon Valley coast, Blueseed can help pull America out of its economic rut, since high-tech startups are one of our most efficient engines of economic growth. 

By facilitating a working space free of nationalistic restrictions, Blueseed will create a uniquely rich nexus of collaboration and innovation for minds and ideas from all over the world—a place where the phenomenon that science writer Matt Ridley’s calls “ideas having sex” can freely flourish. Such areas have always been where human innovation is most rapid and fertile.

Blueseed says that it will cost around $1600 per person per month to live in their space, and promises a launch of late 2013/early 2014. Some points of legal interest from its FAQ:

You can legally earn an income working on your startup while on the Blueseed vessel regardless of your nationality, but you can’t legally earn a paycheck while visiting the mainland, unless you have a US work visa or are a US permanent resident.....You can travel to the mainland using business/tourist visas (B1/B2), for up to 180 days/year (these are significantly easier to obtain than work-visas). US residents can travel to Blueseed at any time.

Hagbard Celines need, or need not, apply--it's totally up to them.

My Reason feature on the visionary roots of Blueseed (as I see it) in Seasteading. Reason.tv on Blueseed:

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This seems like a lot of work just to have monkey knife fights.

  • np||

    Who’s coming to Blueseed?
    Welcoming 1104 entrepreneurs from 336 startups in 64 countries

    No specific names listed unfortunately, only a breakdown by industry and country

  • JeremyR||

    It's amusing because instead of pulling up the ships to Mexico and letting anyone aboard (which apparently is the Libertarian philosophy of open borders), they are pretty much using Canada's immigration policy, of only getting smart, well educated people on who happen to have a lot of money.

  • nipplemancer||

    Well if they were running a huge off-shore farm that needed strawberries to be picked they probably would do just that. Instead they're trying to be a haven for hi-tech companies without having to worry about immigration restrictions. Unskilled labor isn't welcome nor needed.

  • Raymond Luxury Yach-t||

    Hey, somebody will need to clean the toilets and empty the trash. I wonder how they will handle crimes and policing and such.

  • nipplemancer||

    The plank.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Actually they are letting the market determine what labor goes where for a small slice of the economy (tech). Every nativist's nightmare.

  • np||

    The libertarian philosophy is to voluntary transact, associate, and exchange with people. It does not mean everyone is required to do so with everyone else.

    Given they are hi-tech focused it makes sense where they are situated. However, they are registering their Seasteading ships with either the Bahamas, or the Marshall Islands, not the US. They also DO have a few Latin-American companies signed up.

    Finally I'm sure they will have in fact, a small amount of low or lower skilled employees onboard to handle non-high tech duties. Not just maintenance, janitorial, but the list above shows entertainment, recreation, sports, music, food, beverage, etc.

  • Lord at War||

    The libertarian philosophy is to voluntary transact, associate, and exchange with people. It does not mean everyone is required to do so with everyone else.

    Meanwhile, 18% of the children in my school district( Which I involuntarily contribute $4K/yr are either an illegal immigrant or are the child of an illegal immigrant). (I'm a 48 yr old- no children)

    I'm told I shouldn't object, because a slight majority of the citizens of my geographic location think it's appropriate.

  • np||

    You'd be right to object. But it has nothing to do with countering voluntary interchange with immigrants, legal or not.

    Taxes and FICA are also involuntary and I object to how my money is being taken and used by other legal, native citizens. I also object to regulations that involuntarily restrict me by and for other legal, natives. But again, that has nothing to do with voluntary interchange with people.

    Otherwise, using your rationale, I can argue more strongly people should prevented from interacting legal natives, since they present a much much larger drain on me and other people than illegal immigrants.

  • 4tehsnowflakes||

    You could staff any kind of professional services company with people from India, Bangladesh, Paraguay etc. for a fraction of the cost of a similar employee in the US, and all you need is a few US-based representatives to do the intake. Take the $1600 a month rent out of the employee's paycheck -- not allowed in the US -- and Bob's your uncle. It's brilliant in a vaguely evil way. Maybe you could make them sleep in little cabinets the way they do in Japan.

    This post is not intended or written to be used, and should not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding any penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to anyone any transaction or tax-related matter.

  • ||

    That was my idea in the 2010 Seasteading Institute business plan competition. (I got 2nd place)

  • waaminn||

    Oh wow, OK that makes a lot of sesne dude.

    www.PrivacyRules.tk

  • ||

    Blueseed says that it will cost around $1600 per person per month to live in their space,

    That's really reasonable compared to the rent in the DC area.

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