The news agency said the program probably added US$200 million to the country’s coffers in recent years.
Henley is registered in an island in the English Channel and is described as being at the centre of the citizen by investment program for several countries including St Kitts and Nevis. It bills itself as a citizenship and residence planning firm that manages and markets parts of the citizenship programs. The firm also advises governments on how to attract high-net worth individuals. To reach would-be clients, Henley organizes events and throws parties through the jet-set social networking site, A Small World (http://link.reuters.com/pep36s). Another forum is Henley’s annual Global Residence and Citizenship conference, held last November in London.
Henley boasts that it can obtain passports for individuals and families in as few as three months. It also publishes a yearly Visa Restriction Index, which ranks a passport’s value based on number of countries one can visit without a visa. Last year, St. Kitts was 28th. Dominica was 54th. A U.S. passport and an Irish passport tied for the 5th most valuable. Finland, Sweden and Denmark tied for first place, and Germany and France second and third.
The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand all offer immigrant visas to those who invest enough money in certain types of enterprise. These programs don’t instantly result in passports, but the visas are often a fast-track to naturalization and in some cases, large investments can expedite citizenship.