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All Hail the Age Of the Floating Workplace

Larry King tells us that he wants to be frozen, Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump would like to hand poor kids a mop, and now an entrepreneur wants to anchor large ships just outside U.S. waters that will house foreign workers and help companies get around strict visa quotas. Oh, great.

According to a Smartplanet.com article:

One entrepreneur, however, has come up with an interesting workaround to the challenge [of the H1-b visa cap]: anchor a large ship off the coast of San Fransisco [sic], in international waters, and recruit professionals from other nations to work on board.

Blueseed, a startup incubator (and startup itself), proposes to set such a ship afloat as a "high-tech visa-free entrepreneurship and technology incubator on an ocean vessel in international waters." The ship will be positioned as "a short ferry ride away from Silicon Valley so that great ideas and talent from around the world can live, work, and play while having convenient access to the San Francisco Bay Area." International entrepreneurs and professionals would be able to use tourist or short-term business visas — which are easier to obtain the work visas — to take regular jaunts to the mainland.

Work, exciting and new. Come ashore, we're expecting you. And work, life's sweetest reward, let it float, it floats back to you. The Work Boat soon will be making another run. The Work Boat promises something for everyone! Well, everyone except for you, because you thought you were competing against workers coming to the United States on jumbo aircraft for the jobs that haven't already been off-shored, but now you might get to watch foreign workers cruise into your local harbor, get off the boat and go to work as tourists. The job you could have had will no longer be shipped overseas, it will be shipped to shore!

There are many, many questions here. Are foreign "tourists" on tourist and short-term business visas able to work in the United States? Is this even possible? Wouldn't a cruise ship(s) incur quite large overhead costs? What, if any, labor rules would apply to these ships as well as to the workers? Will these working tourists be issued cameras and Bermuda shorts along with their security badges and then haphazardly cross the streets while angry, impatient drivers honk at them? Sorry, I think I've lived in D.C. too long. Anyway, I have a feeling many frustrated U.S. job seekers will probably hope this idea sinks.

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