An application for Asylum
The following letter has been received by the Home Office in London. Its provenance is unclear, but the signatory is Osama Bin Laden.
Dear Mr Immigration Officer,
My reading on the Internet has me thinking that I'd like to apply for the UK's new Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. I think I'd qualify. According to you, if I score 75 points or more in answer to the questions you pose on your Web site, I will be made welcome in Britain. So here goes:
1. On the educational front, I score 10 points for my Saudi university degree. I don't yet have a Ph.D., which would give me an extra five points, but maybe I can take care of that after my arrival. I've been to the UK before and had a nice time at Oxford.
2. Work experience. You say: "An additional 10 points can be obtained for two years working at a senior level or in a specialist position within your chosen field." My career as builder and organizer of people should do the trick. That's 20 points so far.
3. On income, I pass the test with flying colours. According to your national income categories, Afghanistan is in the "D" category as one of the world's poorest nations. Anyone earning over £90,000 a year in Afghanistan is entitled to 50 points, and I can assure you I earn much more than that.
4. You also offer extra points to "those with an exceptional achievement in their chosen field". Such people, you say, "will be at the top of their profession, be recognised beyond their field of expertise and have obtained international recognition". "Very few people will meet this criterion," you add, " and the points system reflects this by giving 50 points to those who demonstrate exceptional achievement." Well, Allah allowing, I think I can show that my achievements are exceptional.
That means I score 120 points, so there shouldn't be a problem. But there are three other things you want me to promise–that I should be able to support myself and my family, that I should make the UK my "main home", and that I should "continue to work in my chosen field". Yes, yes, and yes again
Allah willing, I look forward to a speedy reply
Your Highly Skilled Migrant to be,
Osama Bin Laden
Inigo Thomas is a co-editor of Slate UK.