Henley & Partners

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Henley & Partners
Founded1997; 23 years ago (1997)
Key people
Websitewww.henleyglobal.com Edit this on Wikidata

Henley & Partners is a global citizenship and residence advisory firm based in London. The company advises governments on residence and citizenship-by-investment policy and works with them to develop and implement residence and citizenship programs. It also consults on general immigration law and policy as well as visa policy and the negotiation of associated treaties. The company's Residence and Citizenship Practice Group advises individuals and their advisors such as law firms, banks, and family offices on alternative residence and citizenship.


Originally founded in the 1970s, Henley & Partners was re-formed in 1997 through the combination of a private client immigration consultancy and a corporate and family services company. In the late 1990s and through the 2000s, the firm advised wealthy businesspeople and individuals move their businesses and families around the world, largely through the acquisition of residence and citizenship from Austria, Canada, Hong Kong, US, Switzerland, and St. Kitts and Nevis.[1][2][3] At the time, the concept of residence and citizenship planning was relatively new and not considered to be of much relevance. This situation changed in 2006, however, when Henley & Partners became involved in the restructuring of St. Kitts and Nevis's citizenship-by-investment program, introducing better procedures and due diligence, and incorporating donations to support the country's transition to tourism and services following the closure of the sugar industry in 2005.[4] The firm obtained exclusive rights to market St. Kitts & Nevis worldwide.[5][6] In 2006, 1% of St. Kitts and Nevis's GDP came from the country's citizenship-by-investment program. By 2014, this figure had grown to 25%, with nearly half of the capital inflows generated by the donations under the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation contribution option.[7]

Following the successful restructuring of the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship program, Henley & Partners began to advise the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Cyprus, among others, on how to develop their own investment migration programs.[4] Already in 2012 Reuters wrote that Henley & Partners is “at the center of the citizenship by investment movement”[8]. Henley & Partners, at that time, also advised Canada and the United Kingdom on how best to attract wealthy individuals through their investor visa programs. In 2013, Henley & Partners participated in a public tender and won the right to design and globally promote Malta's citizenship-by-investment program, the Malta Individual Investor Programme, which raised over $1 billion within 18 months of its launch.[9] According to a report by the IMF, Citizenship-by-Investment programmes, besides tourism, were the main reason behind many Eastern Caribbean states positive GDP growth in 2019[10].

The firm and its individual partners, directors, and senior officers are regulated where applicable by the relevant authorities in the countries where they operate. They are also members of various professional associations, including the Investment Migration Council and STEP; Henley & Partners is a founding member of the Investment Migration Council (IMC), the worldwide association for investor immigration and citizenship-by-investment based in Geneva and the chairman of Henley & Partners is a member of the IMC's governing board.

The investment migration industry is estimated at $25 billion. Henley & Partners is the largest firm offering so-called citizenship by investment, an area that forms part of a host of businesses providing tax and legal inherent in traditional wealth management. Its business model is akin to the Big Four accounting firms, linking up potential supply and demand for citizenship and residence permits. The company's revenue is not public.[11]

Henley & Partners is led by Christian Kälin, an immigration and citizenship law specialist who heads an executive committee of seven members and a management board of 30 managing partners. In addition to advising private clients and governments, Kälin is a speaker and writer[12] who is regularly quoted in the international media.[13][14][15][16][17] Having coined the term ius doni as a stand-in for citizenship-by-investment, Kälin introduced the concept of ius doni into the contemporary legal and political theory of citizenship by providing the first comprehensive academic analysis of the subject.[18]. The firm's CEO is Juerg Steffen, an experienced Swiss lawyer and former senior banking executive. Dr Steffen’s track record includes the establishment and management of the firm’s Singapore office as well as serving in the role of COO before being appointed as CEO. Dr Steffen is a frequent writer and speaker on international immigration and citizenship law and practice.[19] Among other publications, he is the author on two books on relocation to Switzerland and Austria for entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals. [20][21]Dr Steffen is listed in the Spears 500 of the world’s top private client professionals focused on wealth management, law and advisory services.[22]

According to Henley & Partners, its number of immigration inquiries from Hong Kong increased by double in July and June 2019 when compared to the year before. The firm's CEO is Juerg Steffen.[23]

Following the worldwide coronavirus pandemic in the first half of 2020, the firm stated that demand for its services increased by 42%, attributing this to wealthy clients looking for second citizenship as means of protection, looking for countries that provide them optimized access to health systems and resources.[24] Henley & Partners CEO Juerg Steffen stated that the outbreak of the coronavirus has triggered a growing interest in residence- and citizenship-by-investment programs among wealth managers and high-net-worth individuals, linking this spur in demand to investors embracing investment migration as a new option in the safe-haven asset class.[25] The firm’s chairman Christian Kälin stated that there is an emergence of a new global hierarchy in terms of mobility, with countries that have effectively managed the pandemic taking the lead, and countries that have handled it poorly falling behind.[26]

Publications and research[edit]

Henley & Partners has published a variety of books and reports offering information on the investment migration industry. The Global Residence and Citizenship Handbook, updated regularly, covers a number of topics pertaining to the industry, including residence rules, citizenship law, dual citizenship, passports, visa-free travel, and tax and real estate planning.[27] The International Real Estate Handbook is a reference manual on the subject of international real estate[28][29] It is also published in German. The annual Global Residence and Citizenship Programs (GRCP) report uses a scientific methodology to systematically analyse some of the world's major residence- and citizenship-by-investment programs.[30] The report details the outcomes of the Global Residence Program Index (GRPI) and the Global Citizenship Program Index (GCPI), which are produced by an independent panel of experts and also updated annually.[31][32]

The company also releases a quarterly publication, in print and online, called the Global Citizenship Review,[33][citation needed] in which authors from legal, financial, business, political, academic and philanthropic areas provide perspectives on global mobility and issues affecting global citizenship. Christian Kälin serves as editor-in-chief of the Global Citizenship Review. The publication is targeted at wealthy individuals, families, and advisers as well as governments interested in attracting FDI for their countries through citizenship by investment programs.[34]

The Henley & Partners Passport Index (HVRI) is the original global ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries they can access visa-free or with a visa-on-arrival.[35][36] The Index has been produced annually for over 10 years in collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world's largest database of travel information. In June 2016, the firm launched its latest index in collaboration with Dr. Dimitry Kochenov, Professor of EU Constitutional and Citizenship Law in the Department of European and Economic Law at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.[37] The Henley & Partners – Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index ranks the different nationalities of the world according to the quality of life they provide their citizens.[38] It explores both the internal factors (such as scale of the economy, human development, and peace and stability) and the external factors (such as visa-free travel and the ability to settle and work abroad) that make one nationality stronger than another.[39][40][41]

Impact and Corporate Social Responsibility[edit]

In 2015, Henley & Partners formed a multi-year partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).[42] As part of the partnership, the firm provides financial support[43] and raises awareness for the refugee cause among its global client base and stakeholders.[44][45] Since 2015, Henley & Partners has donated over USD 1.5 million to the UNHCR.[46] The firm has also developed the annual Global Citizen Award, which consists of a USD 50,000 monetary prize.[47][48] Henley & Partners also provides scholarships and runs, inter alia, the Hero Scholarship program in Antigua and Barbuda, in conjunction with the Halo Foundation.[49] In an interview with Malta Today, Kälin stated that it was only natural for the firm "to acknowledge the plight of millions of uprooted families who flee each day the horror of war and conflict to look for international protection in other countries, and to join our forces with UNHCR."[50]

In 2019, the Andan Foundation, founded by Henley & Partners and its chairman Christian Kälin, partnered with UNICEF UK with the goal of supporting NGO initiatives, humanitarian agencies and governments in enabling sustainable solutions for refugee economic inclusion.[51] With the MIT in Boston, Andan Foundation launched the Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Prize, supporting solutions that use innovation to advance economic, financial, and political inclusion of refugees in their hosting communities. [52] Christian Kälin also put forward the concept of creating ‘Refugee Cities’ by means of multilateral collaboration in order for refugee crises to be transformed into sustainable development opportunities.[53] The underlying core idea is an expansion of opportunities for displaced people by creating secure, self-governing communities in which people can settle and engage in work, start businesses, gain independence, and rebuild their lives.[54]

Criticism and controversy[edit]

In 2013, Arton Capital, a competing firm that had also tendered to be the Malta government's concessionaire for the Malta Individual Investor Programme, filed a judicial protest, appealing the decision by the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Security to elect Henley & Partners for the role. The firm claimed that Henley & Partners had already been associated with the former Maltese administration, providing consultation to the government on a similar program.[55] Arton Capital eventually dropped its court case, however.[56]

The launch of the Malta Individual Investor Programme in 2014 drew criticism from opposition officials, who claimed the program could open a back door into Europe for criminals.[57] It was reported at the time that officials believed the screening process would be compromised because Malta had outsourced the vetting of citizenship applicants to a single company. Henley & Partners argued in response that screening encompassed multiple steps, including criminal and financial background checks using online databases, vetting by independent security contractors, and an analysis using risk-assessment software, with the Maltese government then doing its own checks through resources such as Interpol and American government agencies.[57] Peter Vincent, a former senior counter-terrorism official with the US Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, and Assistant Director General for BORDERPOL, said in a 2017 interview with the Investment Migration Insider, "If we're looking for a model, not just for the European Union but for the entire world, I would look to a country like Malta."[58]

In December 2017, The Shift News, an online news platform based in Malta, published a cease-and-desist letter sent by Henley & Partners that threatened legal action against the publication for their negative coverage of the firm,[59][60] alleging the illegal sale of a diplomatic passport from Grenada to a Pakistani citizen who held no position within the Grenadian government. In this letter, the firm denied any wrong-doing and in its response declared all allegations as unsubstantiated.[59]

Henley & Partners was criticized from time to time for enabling the acquisition of citizenship by investment. The EU Parliament for example has stated that “EU citizenship must not have a price tag attached to it. [61]The firm as well as the EU Commission, however, points to the fact that citizenship law is a matter of national sovereignty.[62]


  • Barber, Hoyt (2007). Tax Havens Today: The Benefits and Pitfalls of Banking and Investing Offshore. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley: ISBN 9780470051238
  • Betten, Rijkele (1998). Income Tax Aspects of Emigration and Immigration of Individuals. Amsterdam: IBFD Publications. ISBN 9789076078229
  • Abrahamian, Atossa Araxia. The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen. Columbia Global Reports: ISBN 9780990976363
  • Steffen, Juerg (2018). Relocation to Switzerland, An Introduction for High Net Worth Individuals and Entrepreneurs (3rd ed.). Zürich, Switzerland: Ideos Publications Ltd.: ISBN 9783952385975
  • Steffen, Juerg (2018). Relocation to Austria, An Introduction for High Net Worth Individuals and Entrepreneurs (2nd ed.). Zürich: Ideos Publications Ltd. ISBN 9783952474266
  • Kälin, Christian (ed. 5): The Global Residence and Citizenship Handbook. New York/ London/ Zurich/ Hong Kong: Ideos Publications Ltd, 2016. ISBN 9783952385920
  • Kälin, Christian. Switzerland Business & Investment Handbook. Chichester: John Wiley, 2006. ISBN 9780470018019
  • Kälin, Christian and Taylor, Andrew (ed. 5): International Real Estate Handbook. New York/ London/ Zurich/ Hong Kong: Ideos Publications ISBN 9780992781835
  • Kochenov, Dimitry (2008). EU Enlargement and the Failure of Conditionality: Pre-accession Conditionality in the Fields of Democracy and the Rule of Law. Austin [etc.]: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business. ISBN 9789041126962
  • Kochenov, Dimitry (ed. 1): Quality of Nationality Index. New York/ London/ Zurich/ Hong Kong: Ideos Publications ISBN 9780993586606
  • Ong, Aihwa (ed. 2): Flexible Citizenship, The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Duke University Press Books. ISBN 9780822322696
  • Wallerstein, Immanuel (1074): The Modern World System I. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520267572


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