Designer Asylum

Because of the Internet, old-fashioned travel agents are nearly as obsolete as ocean-going passenger liners.  In their place a new sort of agent is arising: the migrant or asylum agent, formerly known as the people smuggler.  The phenomenon has recently become a well-known one in Europe especially, as smugglers respond to the desires of their clients to be transported to one or another destination, much as wedding planners in the West arrange ceremonies in exotic places for their customers.

Increasingly sophisticated asylum seekers equipped with smart phones are researching possible destinations for application as carefully as well-to-do Western tourists have always researched their vacation ones.  Among the numerous factors they consider are climate, language, the easy availability of welfare benefits, the established presence of their co-nationalists including relatives, employment restrictions on foreigners or the absence of them, whether a country’s welfare system is contributory or not, the availability of housing benefits and healthcare, and the gullibility of a nation’s asylum and immigration officials, to name only a few.

Spurred by the recent arrival on the southern coast of England of several hundred Iranian “asylum seekers” come across the English Channel in rubber boats from France (usually the area of Calais and its migrant camps), Sajid Javid, the United Kingdom’s...

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