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Are crew agents hedging the law?
Septic tank
Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010 11:53 AM
Joined: 02/11/2009
Posts: 79


The visa issue comes up time and time again, whether it’s for European visas, American visas or wherever. I am perplexed as to how a CREW AGENT can head hunt foreigners that are already within the boarder of a Nation they cannot legally work without breaking the law. People knowingly come to yachting capitals looking for work whilst lacking a proper work permit, they are breaking the law in my books yet it a matter of course in yachting. (e.g. an Aussie looking for work in the USA or say a South African looking for work in Europe).
junior
Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010 3:51 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Crew agents dont hire crew....agents are simply Mr. 10 Percent middle men, pimps, who would happily sell their Mom for a fist full of dollars. Captains hire crew. Better to blow your toxic sludge into the wheelhouse or onto the Superyacht captain studded PYA golf courses. And while you're venting ,why not jettison a load of ripe charter sauce Southward. Direct it toward the superyacht Academies who are training and taking money from crew who they know must travel to the Northern Hemisphere when seeking employment.
rodsteel
Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010 5:17 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


Septic tank,

 

I believe you will find that (fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view) in many jurisdictions (like the US and Western Europe), it is not illegal to solicit and/or interview for employment while visiting as a tourist. However, it is usually illegal to actually work without the appropriate work permit or visa (and, in most cases, this requires the prospective employee to either leave and re-enter the country on a "new" document or to officially convert the existing document to an appropriate one).

 

Rod


Rusty Wrench
Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010 7:22 PM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207


Dear Stank,

Rod has a point there, you seem overly concerned about crew agents soliciting employment for individuals regardless of thier immigration status. We assume by your preferred 'monica' you detest and abhor this happening in the USA. It would be wise to note crew agents who solicit jobs for individuals seeking work on yachts do this without regard to the location of the yacht or location of the individual.

Steady on the rum there junior.


Septic tank
Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010 8:12 PM
Joined: 02/11/2009
Posts: 79


Assume what you will, but this forum centers around the legitimacy of crew agents. It is utter cods wallop to say crew agents only place people on boats that work outside the country, because they often place people on boats located right down the door from offices in Antibes and Ft Lauderdale. The bottom line is this yachting evades convention, yacht crews evade convention and everyone wins except the poor local looking for work in their own country France, Italy, Spain, America, the Caribbean etc.
Rusty Wrench
Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010 9:19 PM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207


What utter drivel. You are missing the point entirely
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 4:19 AM

[removed by moderator]


Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 7:32 AM

  Who cares?

 

They provide a service for those who are willing to make  a jump, give a shot ( at least wile they trust the crew agent) .

Hearth » Round » Oceans »  some just wish to sail around her, and trust crew agents might help.

The French dos't mind because they know that If they want they can try harder to get the job, and get it.

Those who try hard (most of them at least ) get them.  Some are invited, some knows who is charge , some ask,  and some get them by the agents.

I believe if yachting get's much  legalyzed it will loose it's "wonders"

Let it be what it is   »»»» Luxury and priveleged, exotic and mysterious, exentric and peacefull, travellers & businessmans, women & secrets,  etc, etc

 

If rules are made to be broken, at some point, someone will, and might get allong well with it.


Henning
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:14 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Septic tank wrote:
The visa issue comes up time and time again, whether it’s for European visas, American visas or wherever. I am perplexed as to how a CREW AGENT can head hunt foreigners that are already within the boarder of a Nation they cannot legally work without breaking the law. People knowingly come to yachting capitals looking for work whilst lacking a proper work permit, they are breaking the law in my books yet it a matter of course in yachting. (e.g. an Aussie looking for work in the USA or say a South African looking for work in Europe).


Well, speaking to the US market, that line of thinking is incorrect, that's how. There is nothing in the US Immigration law that says a foreign national cannot seek employment within the US, it just isn't there. They cannot work for a US entity within the US without the proper visa. They cannot work for a foreign entity within the US without the proper visa. Those visas are not the same. They can solicit work with a foreign entity within the US and they can solicit work with a US entity for employment outside the US all while in the US on a tourist visa. If they come to terms and accept an offer of a foreign entity within the US, they will have to exit the country and re-enter on the correct visa which in the yachting industry is typically a B1-B2 and enter under the Business terms.

Most of what you read and hear of "common wisdom" on US immigration law is not correct.

bobmor
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 3:12 PM
Joined: 12/07/2010
Posts: 58


When I got in the game in @ 1980 I came to Fort Lauderdale from New england looking for work and was sent with reference's to Captain Eddie Seasholts, some of you may remember or have seen his portrait around town. The first thing he said to me was , go get a hair cut and put a tie and jacket on then be here tomorrow morning 9am sharp. I was 20 years old. Well I got the chance to speak with him about this very subject before he passed some years ago now when the stream of illegal scabs had just started to get obnoxious. I can tell you he's most likely rolling over in his grave over this subject. Yea it's not cool to sign an employment waiver at the airport and then stroll into the crew agent that afternoon and actively solicit yourself in direct conflict to the wavier and stamp with the ink still wet. I mean I wouldn't even think about doing it in your country(anywhere) and I'm an obnoxious American. I believe it should be the responsibility of crew agent to properly identify the prospective crew as part of the vetting process. Now we all know that crew agency's do no vet crew at all. they are mainly meat salesmen/women with no regard for the legality of the whole thing, let alone the and give a damn about weather the crew work out. 90 days! we've all hear that. So yea the agency's must become our 1st line of defense against scabs killing our livelihood. They don't wish to do this as it would limit there offerings ,. this means litigation must be brought by someone to compel this to happen. without consequences they will continue to be the pimps they now are. A very close friend of mine is one of these pimps ,(madam sounds a bit better or maybe mamasan) we have had the conversation a dozen times, she has no defense. only " it's the industry standard, if I don't do it I'll go out of business. Who wants to throw the 1st punch? Someone needs to file suit against all of the agency's at once or get the ICE interested.
junior
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 4:12 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


All this Flag subterfuge..."I can crew up as I please" outside normal national labour considerations ,is a scenario that is bound to blow up in yacht owners, managers , crew agents faces. Very few yachts operate as free roaming high plains drifters worldwide ...the bulk of the fleet services the beaten path on a predictable yearly schedule. . Crew nationality makeup must reflect the areas of operation. If it doesn't, the authorities will soon step in and force it into compliance with evermore regulations. Wise up before its too late and adhere to natural law by favoring local candidates to achieve a operational area natural nationality mix on the yacht.. . .
Rusty Wrench
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 5:07 PM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207


junior, your statement indicates you most likely have a high crew attrition rate and therefore need to hire new crew wherever you travel. Flag state regulations dictate the choice of crew nationality. Local (Port State) control ensures the vessels' crew complement are sufficiently trained/qualified to the required international standards for the intended operation/use/activity of the vessel. Preposterous to suggest local authorities have any influence in the ethnic make up of crew on any vessel unless it is their own flag in local waters.
rodsteel
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 5:43 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


bobmor wrote:
...Someone needs to file suit against all of the agency's at once...


 

Bobmor,

 

Unless the prospective litigants could identify specific (and consistent) examples of "placed" crew that are working on foreign flagged yachts without I-94's (attached to a D1 or B1 US visa) while in US waters, such a suit would be a waste of time and money and would probably be dismissed out of hand since no US Federal or State law has been broken (as Henning has so succinctly iterated above). I believe that, at this time, this is a moral issue not a legal one - and, as Junior points out, the captains or owners are the most likely persons that could address it.

 

Rod


junior
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 5:56 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


You are correct Rod...it is a moral issue. Failure to adhere to national interests is what brings these issues into view. Far better to keep them out of view by encouraging captains and managers to exercise morally correct hiring practices.
Nick
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 6:54 PM
Joined: 17/06/2010
Posts: 1


Hey, question: how do you want to hire someone if you can't meet him? So if you want to hire a crew on a foreign flag boat in US you should just trust the resume and whatever that person said on the phone and the give her a letter of employment for that person to go through immigration and ask for a B1 visa? I think this is unrealistic and yes crew agents neet to interview candidates and captains as well...thats a catch 22 and crew have to enter as "tourists" to get a chance to be hired. Now if you guys think its illegal (it is actually...oups) and nothing should be illegal then change immigration laws and authorise someone to enter the country in the sole purpose to look for a job on a foreign flag boat and game is over. Tourists visa don't have the right to look for a job and donb'thave the right to be hired untill they have a B1 visa thats the law: but it doesn't work! I am french and I am pissed to see so many brits,auzie etc taking jobs in Antibes but I have to recognise than in this slave business they are good and if you americans want to keep all the job for yourselves then create a union and force the owners to take US flags and to hire US crew...not that easy! So we can talk for hours weither this stranger is taking our job or not, but this is part if maritime world and the only way we can make change it would be to create 1 songle flag all around the world for yachts!!!not a bad idea I think and like this we crew can get a decent health protection, and other benefits. Cheers!
norma
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 8:23 PM
Joined: 13/03/2009
Posts: 1


Greetings All, as a former crew agency owner for over a decade, Ive seen every arrow slung at agents - many justified, many exagerrated. Most of the crew agents are employees struggling hard to earn a living in a difficult environment of intense competition, erratic employers, underqualified employees and wacky jobs (read Capt. Paula's excellent post above.) It's not at all an easy way to earn a living, nor of course is looking for a job on a yacht a walk in the park either. You might wish to take a look at the upcoming MLC Conventions which are coming yachting's way courtesy of the ILO. They will severely regulate yacht jobs, crew life, taxation, and even crew agent responsibilities. PYA has taken an active role in communicating with the ILO to help them understand some of the aspects of yacht employment which are different (I dare not say better) than those in commercial shipping. You can read the actual MLC Convention on the PYA website, or hear the President of PYA discuss these new, stringent regulations in the article on him in the new Yachting Matters. You think you want changes, and more legalities regarding job searching and crew jobs? You may get more than you bargained for. Want to make changes? Consider joining groups such as PYA as an active member - and make your voice heard - not on the golf course, but in front of international legislative bodies. NT
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:06 PM
As Americans we can make our voices heard. ICE, other agencies associated with immigration and homeland security will probably not even care about what YOU have witnessed..but it's still worth it. Just a few "crazies" bitching about it (yes I've been accused what a shocker) is not going to help. It takes a joint effort, we all know this. Why should we allow all these foreign nationals who are breaking the law year after year while they laugh us complaining about this...why should we allow it? If we do something about it as a group, then something can be done soon enough. Let's show the creeps in this industry who promulgate this issue of illegal gainful employment for profit that we're not taking this BS as we have for too long. And I think if more of us can reach out to the American Charter Market, then maybe they can help make a difference. Now, I'm not trying to diminish the market or hurt legitimate employees from anywhere...but perhaps on our side of the pond, we can get more American Charter guests to look for yachts that employ more Americans/or fly American flags, perhaps that's one way to send a message to this industry --- especially cpts/and recruiters/owners! As long as there is apathy and pathetic excuses, Americans will continue to go through these issues of illegal gainful employment and discrimination that comes with it. And man, YOU DO NOT HAVE to work harder than everyone else to be appreciated as an American, JUST DO YOUR JOB and be professional of course (like I need to mention this) AND SPEAK OUT FOR WHAT IS RIGHT ! [ Removed by moderator]
rodsteel
Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:22 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277


Anon,

 

There is a fairly well known country song with an appropriate phrase:

"What part of NO don't you understand?" (just substitute "IT IS LEGAL" for "NO" )

 

Rod

 


Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 12:43 AM
Wow Norma!! How much did the PYA pay you to promote them in such a wonderful light? Joining the PYA will get you nothing but a ticket to one of their drinking parties or a harassing phone call from their new buddies at Nautilus, the labor union. What voice do they have? Do they have consultative status at the IMO? ILO? IACS? No, nothing. They invited the ILO to visit a few yachts. Blah, blah, blah. They care so much about the well-being of yachties? Where were they when ISM came out? ISPS? How about the visa issues for crew in the US? Medical coverage? Contract disputes? We never heard from them at all. But now that the ILO MLC comes out AND there is the potential to make money through unionizing yacht crew, NOW they are "the voice" for yachties. Puhhlease. Other than making a sea service book that is sometimes accepted by only the MCA and no other flag, they are nothing but a group of old drinking buddies that charge you to be in the club.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 3:23 AM
Who is this Anonymous idiot (the other one)? With his attitude they would be off my boat fast than ... well nevermind, I'll just pass over his ambergris and look for the legitimate comments.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 8:27 AM
Septic tank wrote:
The visa issue comes up time and time again, whether it’s for European visas, American visas or wherever. I am perplexed as to how a CREW AGENT can head hunt foreigners that are already within the boarder of a Nation they cannot legally work without breaking the law. People knowingly come to yachting capitals looking for work whilst lacking a proper work permit, they are breaking the law in my books yet it a matter of course in yachting. (e.g. an Aussie looking for work in the USA or say a South African looking for work in Europe).


my understanding was that the labour law applies to the flag state and the location of the company that you are employed by, not by where you might meet the person who introduces you to the boat. So, for example, an Aussie finding a job on a Cayman flagged boat, employed by an Isle of Man company from an agent in Antibes doesnt need a visa to work in France.... cos he isnt working in France....

I might be wrong but that is how it has been explained to me... making this a moral issue not a legal one.

Protectionism is the very worst thing for ANY industry to do so the idea of only employing local crew a. will never work and b. is destructive for the industry.

Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 8:32 PM
Wow some angry people here. Your personalities are not really suitable to the yachting industry, maybe rethink your career, don't become a Captain..please...Yachting is the greatest show on earth, visit foreign countries, meet different people/cultures. There is nothing better then putting into a foreign port and having a beer/coffee with other crew from every nation of the world, and I've been doing it for 20 years...and still love it...
Ieuan
Posted: Saturday, March 19, 2011 11:53 AM
Joined: 22/04/2010
Posts: 45


Hi Everyone,

I think that all the comments are correct and are all wrong at the same time. The industry does need a shake up and does need reform but this will take time and further thinking. I'll give you some examples or idea's that I would suggest to tackle these issues.

Firstly the comment about people coming into America as a tourist and looking for a job, THIS IS WRONG  question is, how do we improve the service without crossing the line. Crew are mostly nomads with no fixed address and different telephone numbers every week etc. What if the agencies in each of the countries communicated between each other to vet crew where they do have visa's and then gave them a skill ratings / experience ratings / reference ratings. Then share this information with other agencies in the areas that crew member was looking for work or was will to travel to.

Of course everyone wants to make money so let have a think about the business involved in this idea. Local crew could be place at a 10-15% discount to the owner over international crew vetted in their own countries with the options of course for the captain to speak to them via SKYPE or on the phone the other 10-15% would go to the agency in the country the crew is from. This will mean that those you just need crew can pick up local crew cheaper or pay a premium to the local agent for finding someone the international crew member. This business model wouldn't be perfect but it does do a number of things to encourages captains to pick up local crew where ever they are while maintaining a system bringing in income into the local country and the country where the crew member originates.

Tax on crew is an interesting comment and one that all governments have been keen to close up where ever they can. In recent years the French government have been closing ranks on captains with families living in France while paying little to no tax in the country. Taxes are used by the governments to pay for roads, schools, police, hospitals etc. if a captain or crew member decides to have a family somewhere then he should pay taxes in that country. However the local country needs to give high tax breaks to those whose bread winners who are working out of the country or away from home for long periods of time. Most countries like the UK and Australia do already do this if the person spends less the 90 days in the country a  year or can prove that he is working x distance away from his family. Crew hiding part of your income from the tax man is going to lead to problems best to set up your own business that put all your salary and expenses into one account then pay tax on the money you need to live. The rest of the money in the business can be used for expenses you need for work. You can also pay your wife or partner a salary to spilt your income to pay less tax, claiming she is the book keeper and organiser for you company. Excess money if any you would only need to pay company tax on which is a fraction of personal tax set around 20 – 30% and gives business owners / crew the ability to claim back the sales tax or VAT on the equipment he needs for work.

 

Setting up your own business means a lot of paperwork and additional costs to the captain or crew but will formalise and professionalise the industry of sub-contractors which is really what we all are. I set my own company 2 years ago which allowed me to by direct from manufactures and distributors purchasing equipment at a fraction of the cost. It also allowed me to formalise my accounts on the boat and put my extra time in long term projects to assist others in the industry like my project MarineDex which isn't completely finished yet. Still all of this isn’t a perfect answer to all the issues in the industry but as a captain in the industry we all need to look at ways to improve the services to owners. The happier they are and the simpler it is for crew the more work that there will be for others in the future.


Anyway hopefully these ideas will spark some new ideas for agents, crew and governments to start work on formalising the industry for the future.


If anyone has any comments or suggestions on what I have said and done please feel free to email me at

info@marinedex.com



 
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