Henley & Partners

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Henley & Partners
Founded1997; 26 years ago (1997)
Area served
Key people

Henley & Partners is an investment migration consultancy based in London. The company also advises governments on residence and citizenship-by-investment policy and works with them to develop and implement residence and citizenship programs.[2] 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. According to The Guardian, it "arguably invented the modern 'citizenship planning' industry".[3] Led by Christian Kälin,[4] the firm is, as of 2020, the world's largest investment migration consultancy.[5]

It has been criticised for its core business model, which detractors believe to threaten the fight against cross-border corruption and crime.[6][7] Henley's immigrant investor programs in Malta and in St. Kitts and Nevis have stirred controversy.[8][3]


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.[9][10][11] 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 the firm became involved in the restructuring of St. Kitts and Nevis's citizenship-by-investment program, incorporating donations to support the country's transition to tourism and services following the closure of the sugar industry in 2005.[12]

Following the restructuring of the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship program, Henley & Partners began to advise the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Cyprus on how to develop their own investment migration programs,[12] and has since that time worked for and been mandated by several other governments.[13][14][15][16] In 2012, Reuters wrote that Henley & Partners is “at the center of the citizenship by investment movement”.[17]

St. Kitts and Nevis[edit]

In 2006, the firm restructured St. Kitts and Nevis's citizenship-by-investment program, and obtained exclusive rights to market St. Kitts & Nevis worldwide.[8] The company gave the country's government a $20,000 fee for every successful applicant for its passport program.[8] Applicants for passports could either invest in real state on the islands or donate to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), a bank-owned investment vehicle set up in 2006 to invest on behalf of the St. Kitts and Nevis population.[8] The contract between Henley and Partners and St. Kitts and Nevis ended in 2013.[8]

In 2014, the US and Canada flagged that St. Kitts and Nevis was allowing financial criminals and individuals evading sanctions to obtain passports through the Henley and Partners scheme.[8] Canada ended its visa-free agreement with St. Kitts and Nevis.[8]

Observers have had persistent concerns about the lack of transparency about SIDF, which was set up by Henley and Partners. The IMF said in 2014 that the SIDF needs to make "substantial improvement in its reporting to enhance the transparency of its operations."[8] The U.S. State Department said in 2017 that there was a "lack of financial oversight" of the SIDF.[8] Transparency International said it was unclear whether the SIDF used its money to benefit the St. Kitts and Nevis population.[8]

It was later revealed that the SIDF's investments had failed. SIDF invested its money into a failed resort business and a company owned by a Henley associate with ties to chairman Christian Kälin.[8] In 2017, the St Kitts and Nevis government stopped allowing passport applicants to pay into the SIDF.[8]

According to 2022 reporting by the OCCRP, there is evidence that Henley CEO Christian Kälin helped to finance the successful 2010 re-election campaign of Denzil Douglas, the St. Kitts and Nevis prime minister.[18] At the same time, Henley entered into at least three agreements with the SCL Group or its affiliated companies to help each other in the Caribbean region.[18] Henley has denied financing the Douglas campaign. However, Douglas stated in an unpublished 2018 interview that Henley did fund his campaign and that the SCL Group was hired to manage the campaign. Henley responded by calling Douglas a liar.[18]


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.[19] Arton Capital, a competing firm, filed a judicial protest, appealing the decision to award the contract to its competitor, claiming that Henley & Partners provided consultation to the government on a similar program before.[20] Arton Capital settled out of court in 2015.[21]

The program provides citizenship to foreign individuals and their families who are believed to contribute to the country's economic development. The country later introduced more stringent conditions for acquiring citizenship, such as proof of residence in Malta for at least 12 months.[22]

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.[23] 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.[23]

Jho Low, a businessman involved in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal and international fugitive, was believed to be a client of Henley & Partners. Media reported that Low obtained a Cypriot passport by investing €5 million in a transaction facilitated by the firm.[24][25][26] Henley & Partners denied these allegations, asserting that Low was never a client and was specifically rejected as such in 2015.[27] Leaked documents in 2021 revealed that Henley worked for Low through a Cypriot intermediary. Henley pocketed 710,000 euros for its services to Low.[28][29]

In 2021, thousands of the firm's emails and documents were leaked.[3] It revealed how some applicants to the Maltese scheme claimed to be resident of the country by renting apartments but leaving them unoccupied.[3] In an undercover video shot as part of the coverage following the leaks, an employee of the firm advised prospective applicants to only "do the bare minimum" in satisfying the scheme's criteria.[30] The documents also showed that Henley & Partners knew of government's plans to launch a citizenship-by-investment programme two months before the public tender for a company to operate it was announced.[31] As the European Union had clashed with the Maltese government over the programme before,[32][33] the leaks were seen as strengthening the EU's case against it.[33][34]


Henley & Partners publishes books and reports.[35][36][37][38][39] Publications include the Henley Passport Index, the Quality of Nationality Index, the Henley Residence Index, the Henley Citizenship Index, the Henley Wealth Migration Dashboard,[40] the Africa Wealth Report,[41] the Global Mobility Report, the Global Citizens Report and the Best Investment Migration Real Estate Index.[42][43][44]

  • In March 2021, the company published the Investment Migration Programs Health Risk Assessment Report, which analyzed the stability of 31 countries with investment migration programs, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.[45][46]
  • The Africa Wealth Report is an annual report which lists private wealth in the African continent. The 2022 report was released by the company in collaboration with New World Wealth.[47][41]
  • The Henley Passport Index is an annual ranking of countries in the world based on how many travel destinations are accessible to the passport holders without a prior visa.[48]
  • The Investment Migration Climate Resilience Index by the company assesses a country's climate resilience and ranks climate resilient locations for migration. The 2022 report evaluated 180 countries based on five parameters of 900 data points.[49]
  • The Global Citizens Report is a report by the company which analyses the private wealth and investment migration trends worldwide.[50]


Since 2006,[51] the company hosts an annual Global Citizenship Conference.[52][53][54]


In 2015, Henley & Partners formed a multi-year partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which entailed a US$1 million donation by the firm.[55] As part of the partnership, also raises awareness for the refugee cause.[56] The firm has also developed the annual Global Citizen Award, which consists of a $50,000 monetary prize to individuals "improving the global community".[57][58][59] In 2017, the firm supported the establishment of the Andan Foundation, a Switzerland-based refugee nonprofit.[60]


Henley & Partners is a 2014 founding member of the Investment Migration Council, a non-profit association for investor immigration and citizenship-by-investment.[61]


  1. ^ "India's richie rich are buying one-way tickets out of the country. Here's why". The Economic Times. June 19, 2022.
  2. ^ Kazeem, Yomi (26 August 2020). "Wealthy Nigerians are buying up passports for cash from Caribbean nations to beat visa rules". QZ.com. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Revealed: residency loophole in Malta's cash-for-passports scheme". The Guardian. 2021-04-22. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  4. ^ "Dr. Christian H. Kaelin | Key People". Henley & Partners. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
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  9. ^ Barber, Hoyt (2007). Tax havens today : the benefits and pitfalls of banking and investing offshore. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-05123-8.
  10. ^ Abrahamian, Atossa Araxia (2015). The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen. Columbia Global Reports. pp. 70–93. ISBN 978-0-9909763-6-3.
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  12. ^ a b Clenfield, Jason (12 March 2015). "The Man Who Helps Countries Turn Investments Into Passports for the Rich". Skift.
  13. ^ "Government Advisory Practice - Henley & Partners". www.henleyglobal.com.
  14. ^ "Thailand Lures The Ultra Wealthy". finews.asia. 31 March 2017.
  15. ^ Ljubas, Zdravko (4 October 2019). "Montenegro Launches Golden Visa Application Process". occrp.org.
  16. ^ "From Malta to Moldova: Henley & Partners new citizenship adventure". The Malta Independent. 14 July 2018.
  17. ^ Abrahamian, Atossa (12 February 2012). "Passport for a price" (PDF). No. Special Report February 2012. Reuters. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  18. ^ a b c ""A Faustian Pact": How Henley & Partners' "Passport King" and Cambridge Analytica's Parent Firm Sought to Sway Caribbean Politics". OCCRP. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  19. ^ "Malta passport programme 'best in the world' - €1 billion raised since launch - Henley". Times of Malta. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  20. ^ "Government challenged in court over choice of concessionaire for citizenship sale". Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  21. ^ "Arton Capital drops court case against government over choice of concessionaire for citizenship sale". Retrieved 2016-07-19.
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  24. ^ "Henley & Partners denies wanted fugitive Jho Low a client". The Malaysian Reserve. 2019-11-06. Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  25. ^ "Malaysian fugitive businessman Jho Low believed to be using multiple passports to criss-cross globe". The Straits Times. 2019-11-05. Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  26. ^ "Fugitive bought second passport". www.theaustralian.com.au. Retrieved 2021-01-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ "Golden Visa Firm Hits Back At Malaysia Financier Claims". WealthBriefing. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  28. ^ "A Key Player in Malaysia's Biggest-Ever Corruption Scandal Found Sanctuary in Cyprus With Help From a Major London Firm". OCCRP. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  29. ^ "Malaysian fugitive tried to buy 'golden passport' to EU, report says". The Guardian. 2021-02-03. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  30. ^ "Passport Papers: 'To the clients, we say do the bare minimum'". Times of Malta. 2021-04-23. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  31. ^ Borg, Jacob (2021-04-23). "Passport Papers: Henley 'prepared' for scheme months before public call". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  32. ^ Micallef, Keith (2020-01-27). "Henley and Partners earned €36m in commissions from passport scheme". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  33. ^ a b Harding, Luke; Pegg, David (2021-04-22). "How 'golden passports' firm lays on VIP service to colourful list of clients". The Guardian. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  34. ^ "Malta golden passports: 'Loopholes' found in citizenship scheme". BBC News. 2021-04-22. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  35. ^ Kälin, Christian H. (2016-01-27). Global Residence and Citizenship Handbook (5 ed.). Ideos Publications. ISBN 978-0-9927818-5-9.
  36. ^ Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2015 (2 ed.). Ideos Publication. 2015-04-07. ISBN 978-0-9927818-1-1.
  37. ^ Kälin, Christian H.; Taylor, Andrew. International Real Estate Handbook (5 ed.). Ideos Publications. ISBN 978-0-9927818-3-5.
  38. ^ "The best countries to "buy" your way into dual citizenship". businesstech.co.za.
  39. ^ "Countries with best, worst passports". Emirates 24|7.
  40. ^ Taylor, Chloe. "15,000 millionaires are expected to leave Russia this year. Here's where the rich are going". Fortune. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  41. ^ a b Benson, Emmanuel Abara (27 April 2022). "10 African countries with the highest number of dollar millionaires, according to latest ranking". Business Insider Africa. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  42. ^ Chadha, Sunainaa (9 February 2022). "Dubai takes top spot in new real estate migration index". The Times of India.
  43. ^ "UAE takes top spot in new global real estate index". Gulf News. 8 February 2022.
  44. ^ Tamara, Hardingham-Gill; Maureen, O'Hare. "World's most powerful passport list impacted by Ukraine conflict". CNN. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  45. ^ Warren, Katie (24 March 2021). "The 10 most valuable passports money can buy if you want access to a country that handled the COVID-19 pandemic effectively". Business Insider.
  46. ^ Abbas, Waheed (23 March 2021). "UAE rated among top 10 countries by millionaires seeking health security". Khaleej Times.
  47. ^ Rahhali, Lamine. "Morocco 1 of 5 Countries with More than 50% of Africa's Private Wealth". Morocco World News. Retrieved 15 September 2022. The Africa Wealth Report is a yearly report that lists private wealth in the continent.
  48. ^ Report, Dawn (21 July 2022). "Pakistani passport remains 'fourth-worst in world'". Dawn. The Henley Passport Index is a ranking of all the world's 199 passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa
  49. ^ Chadha, Sunainaa. "Best investment migration options to improve climate resilience". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 September 2022. The study comprises over 900 different data points within 5 parameters
  50. ^ Oommen, Anup. "UAE ranked world's top millionaire destination in 2022 as a 'powerful magnet for talent and capital'". Arabian Business. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
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  52. ^ "15th Global Citizenship Conference". www.henleyglobal.com.
  53. ^ Abrahamian, Atossa Araxia (12 February 2012). "Special Report: Passports . . . for a price". Reuters.
  54. ^ Neate, Rupert (16 November 2019). "London ballroom hosts showcase event for 'golden passports'". The Guardian.
  55. ^ Vella, Matthew (2015-03-15). "Henley: passports for the global rich, charity for the global poor". MaltaToday.com.mt. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  56. ^ "Henley & Partners teams up with UNHCR to help global refugee cause".
  57. ^ "WATCH: Could you be the next Global Citizen award winner?". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  58. ^ "Gift of Givers founder receives top global award". IOL. 19 June 2018.
  59. ^ "Indian-origin humanitarian gets Global Citizen Award". The Indian Express. 13 November 2016.
  60. ^ Steck, Albert (December 1, 2021). "The citizenship-by-investment business is flourishing. «The boom goes beyond anything we have seen before»". Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
  61. ^ Borg, Gianluca (2014-10-03). "The founding of the Investment Migration Council". Investment Migration Council. Retrieved 2022-10-04.

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