CITIZENSHIP and residency advisory firm the Henley & Partners Group has decided to open an office in Nigeria as part of a drive to woo wealthy Nigerians looking to acquire citizenship of foreign nations.
Most countries have citizenship perks for foreign investors which enable them to acquire the rights of citizens after making a certain amount of investment and employing a certain number of people. Swiss firm the Henley & Partners Group, specialises in advising investors how to go about this and has now set its sights on Nigeria’s wealthy.
Henley & Partners disclosed that wealthy Nigerians and other Africans are becoming a huge part of the business, just like globally mobile nationals from China, Southeast Asia and the former Soviet Union. The expression of interest in either passports or residency rights from Africans have gone up in recent years to over 1,000 in the first quarter of this year, from about 750 a year earlier.
Dominic Volek, the head of sales at Henley & Partners, said: “We have been engaging with Nigerian and West African Clients for over three years now and have seen constant growth. The significance in wealth creation in the region has created a consequent surge in demand.”
Henley & Partners, which already has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, will be setting up its office in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria. Its target market is the very rich, who wish to secure citizenship of various Caribbean countries, as well as some select few European Union members like Cyprus and Malta.
Costs range from $200,000 for the Caribbean passports to more $1m for European nations. Henley & Partners Group, who is the world’s largest company active in citizenship and residence planning, also assists clients who opt for residency through investment programmes offered by countries like the US, UK and Portugal.
Acquiring foreign citizenship has become very rampant among wealthy Nigerians, especially politicians seeking avenues and safe havens to invest their money. They go for this citizenship and residency most times for mobility and not necessarily for relocation.
A great number of Nigerian politicians have stashed away most of their wealth in such countries, where it is usually difficult to trace. They do not want to be restricted, so they acquire foreign passports, which enable them to move around without visas.