Withers, the London-based international law firm, today announced the launch of a new strategic citizenship and residence consultancy called Withers Global Advisors, which it says is aimed at catering to the large and growing market of internationally mobile, high-net-worth individuals who need help with their complex, cross-border, multi-jurisdictional lives.
Helping clients interested or needing to secure additional citizenships, or residency rights through investment programmes, will be an area of particular focus, the firm said in a statement announcing the new business.
So-called investor visas and citizenship-by-investment programmes have become a major source of income for growing numbers of countries around the world, resulting the emergence of a new industry that helps individuals to determine which schemes are best suited to them and their pocketbooks. Withers already has a foot in this sector, as it is focused on high-net-worth private clients who typically live multi-jurisdictional lives, whom it already helps with tax and residency matters.
Withers Global Advisors (WGA) will operate as a joint venture between Withers and New York-based immigration law expert Reaz Jafri, pictured left, who will act as the firm’s chief executive. Jafri has worked as an immigration lawyer for 25 years, including, most recently, for Withers, where he has been since 2012, and of which he became a partner in 2014.
At least for now, the operation will have just one office, in New York, a spokesperson said.
World of uncertainty and threats
Jafri explains that the decision to launch a separate business dedicated to citizenship and residence consultation comes as individuals face a world of “increasing political and economic uncertainty and, in many parts of the globe, threats to the personal safety of their families and themselves”.
Taking up residence or citizenship in another country can enable them to mitigate such risk, while also providing them with additional options and choices, he adds.
“An increasing number of countries offer the opportunity to gain residence or citizenship through investing in national development funds or specific projects. Our clients will be able to depend on us to provide comprehensive advice through seamless access to the whole range of Withers’ tax planning and risk management expertise.”