French citizens can take satisfaction that their nationality has once again been ranked as the best in the world, while for citizens of the UK, the ramifications of a ‘hard’ Brexit could well sink the quality of their nationality from 8th globally, to 56th (the current position of China). This is according to the latest findings of the Kälin and Kochenov’s Quality of Nationality Index (QNI), which is the only ranking that objectively measures and ranks all the world’s nationalities as legal statuses.
Holding the top spot for eight consecutive years, France earned a score of 83.5% out of a possible 100% — less than one percentage point ahead of Germany and the Netherlands, which sit in joint-2nd place with 82.8%. France’s comparative advantage lies in its greater settlement freedom (attributable mainly to the country’s former colonial empire).
In the top 10 on this year’s index, Denmark finds itself in 3rd place with a score of 81.7%, while Norway and Sweden hold joint-4th spot with 81.5%. Positions 5-10 are held by Iceland, Finland, Italy, the UK, Ireland and Spain, in that order.
The US occupies 25th place on the QNI with a score of 70.0% — the country’s relatively poor standing is primarily due to its low settlement freedom compared to EU member states. China ranks 56th — a four-place improvement on last year, and the Russian Federation climbs up two positions to 62nd place. The UAE has attained its highest rank ever, securing 42nd place. The bottom three nationalities on this year’s QNI are South Sudan, Afghanistan and Somalia.
Brexit likely to sink quality of UK nationality
EU countries generally perform extremely well on the QNI, largely due to the liberal degree of settlement freedom permitted between member states. However, the UK could become the exception to this rule, with its current 8th position potentially in jeopardy if it crashes out of the EU without a deal in place.
Prof. Dr. Dimitry Kochenov, a law professor and author of Citizenship and Dr. Christian H Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and author of Ius Doni are the co-creators of the Index. Prof. Kochenov explains: “The UK may be about to establish a world record in terms of profoundly undermining the quality of its nationality without going through any violent conflict.
Depending on the outcome of Brexit, the UK could see itself falling from the elite group of ‘very high quality’ nationalities into the ‘high quality’ bracket. A truly ‘hard’ Brexit would result in the UK having a nationality that does not grant Brits settlement or work rights in any of the EU jurisdictions or Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland: a collection of the most highly developed places on earth, greatly diminishing the quality of its own nationality in an irrevocable manner.”
Although unlikely, in the worst-case scenario and depending on the economic downturn caused by Brexit, the UK could possibly fall even further and into the ‘medium quality’ tier alongside China and Russia.
Dr. Kaelin says the index is highly relevant to both individuals and governments. “It’s clear that our nationalities have a direct impact on our opportunities and on our freedom to travel, do business, and live longer, healthier, and more rewarding lives. The reality that the QNI describes is, in many respects, unfair and regrettable: in the majority of circumstances, our nationality plays an important role in establishing a highly irrational ceiling for our aspirations.”