Australians who want to tap into the US startup market may have a novel solution to a critical hurdle: obtaining a suitable visa.
If you’re an entrepreneur with plans for a brilliant startup you may not need one. You could be able to live and work on a boat off the California coast instead.
Offshore entrepreneurial venture Blueseed plans to host over 1000 entrepreneurs and 200 technicians on a converted cruise ship anchored about 20km off the California coast from the middle of next year.
No H-1B working visas are required to live and work in this floating “awesome startup and technology oriented space”, Blueseed claims — just an adventurous spirit and sturdy sea legs.
Chief Information Officer for Blueseed Dan Dascalescu, 32, from Romania, said he wants to make it easier for non-Americans to work in the US, and he knows how hard it can be.
Mr Dascalescu graduated from the University of California in Santa Cruz with a degree in molecular biology and started working at large tech company in the Silicon Valley soon after. Although he applied for a green card in 2007, the process would take five years, and he faced a lot of uncertainty in the meantime.
“I was thinking of starting my own start-up, but it wasn’t clear if I could legally (without being a full citizen),” Mr Dascalescu told the American Broadcasting Corporation.
To work in the US you need an H-1B visa, but just 65,000 are granted every year and this year the cap imposed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services was reached within three days.
“Unfortunately, the US does not produce enough tech talent (to fill all available positions),” Mr Dascalescu said.
“This is what Blueseed wants to solve.”
More than 1300 entrepreneurs from 67 countries, who mostly work in the software industry, have already expressed interested in working on board Blueseed, the company claims on its website.
And a standards committee will review applications and put names on a waiting list. However, Blueseed will also take applications from established businesses in Silicon Valley who want to hire foreign workers, and the company expects to fill the ship to capacity.
Rental packages range from $1,200 to $3,000 a month per person, and involve no visa requirements. A daily ferry service will run from the ship into the San Francisco bay and those who live and work on the Blueseed can enter the US for up to 180 days on a tourist visa, Blueseed claims on its website. In addition, US citizens can travel to the Blueseed at any time.
So if you have a great startup idea, and you’re not prone to seasickness, apply at Blueseed.co.
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