Henley: passports for the global rich, charity for the global poor

Henley & Partners announce partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to donate more than $1 million to help the global refugee cause.

Joseph Muscat with Henley chairman Christian Kalin (foreground) at a Henley & Partners conference in Malta. Photo: Ray Attard
Joseph Muscat with Henley chairman Christian Kalin (foreground) at a Henley & Partners conference in Malta. Photo: Ray Attard

The concessionaires and authors of Malta’s sale of passports, Henley & Partners, are assuaging the moral dilemma of selling citizenship at €650,000 to the world’s super-rich by donating $1 million to the global refugee cause.

As destitute workers and other migrants flee poverty, climate change, war, and persecution in Africa and the Middle East to reach European shores and claim protection, Malta keeps the doors open for new citizens who can afford the €1.15 million ‘golden passport’ that is officially known as the Individual Investor Programme.

Henley & Partners announced an innovative partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to donate more than $1 million to help the global refugee cause.

Through a multi-year partnership Henley & Partners will support UNHCR's global refugee registration activities with the contribution, and further advocate and assist UNHCR’s resource mobilisation efforts in the interests of its people of concern.

On Friday, the EU’s prime ministers “deplored” the loss of migrants’ lives at sea while at the same time still lagging behind on beefing up the Frontex operation in the Central Mediterranean that replaced Italy’s Mare Nostrum.

Malta on the other hand, aims at welcoming 1,800 new citizens from the IIP, which pays Henley 4% on the €650,000 donation to the country’s posterity fund. Their contribution to the UNHCR can be paid after 36 successful applicants have been given their passports.

Henley provides the global super-rich hassle-free travel to the European Union and the United States by selling citizenship, so it was “only natural” – said Henley chairman Christian Kalin’s comments without any coyness – “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.”

Henley’s support will be primarily focused on funding refugee registration and identification documents. UNHCR’s Registration Program is the starting point for all humanitarian assistance. Proper registration and documentation are key to allowing a refugee to access services, aid or protection under the law.

Registration is also fundamental to identify those refugees who are most in need, such as female headed households, separated children and people with disabilities, and provide them with appropriate protection.

UNHCR registration often provides the only form of documentation for these people. Sadly, this step is too generally perceived as an administrative process rather than as the gateway to protection and services in other countries, and rarely attracts donor funding.

Beyond substantial financial support, Henley & Partners will also integrate advocacy actions for refugees in its corporate social responsibility program by organising fundraising events and engaging its co-workers, partners and clients to help uprooted people around the world.

The UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner, Alexander Aleinikoff, is expected to attend the Henley & Partners Forum in Zurich, Switzerland in May 2015, which will be the first of a long calendar of joint global activities to raise awareness about refugee challenges and solutions.

A dedicated fundraising dinner for UNHCR will also be organised on 3 November 2015 in Dubai on the occasion of the Global Citizen Award launch at the Henley & Partners 9th Global Residence & Citizenship Conference, the world's leading event of its kind.

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