Most of the Caribbean nations have all moved up the ranking in the 2nd Edition of the Henley & Partners – Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index (QNI) which was published in London on Wednesday. The QNI is the first index of its kind to objectively rank the value of every nationality of the world in terms of legal status in which to develop your talents and business. It uses a wide variety of quantifiable data to determine the opportunities and limitations that our nationalities impose on us. To achieve this, the QNI measures both the internal value of nationality — the quality of life and opportunities for personal growth within a nationality’s country of origin — and the external value of nationality — which identifies the diversity and quality of opportunities that nationalities allow us to pursue outside our country of origin.
Ranking 56th and 57th respectively, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis remain in the High Quality tier of the index, moving up two positions to 56th and 57th respectively in the world. Grenada (67th) and St. Lucia (64th) are amongst the Top Risers worldwide, gaining 24 and 22 places respectively to secure 67th and 64th position, moving them from the Medium Quality tier to the High Quality tier on the index. Other Caribbean countries that now enjoy High Quality status are those of the Commonwealth of Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Hugh Morshead, Group Director at Henley & Partners, says there are quite substantial differences between the Caribbean nations in the top 60 of the QNI General Ranking, and those such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, which all fall outside the top 100. “Higher-scoring nationalities generally have stronger economies, greater development and more peace and stability, and their citizens benefit from better travel freedom. The Schengen visa liberalization has significantly extended the travel freedom of many Caribbean nations which is why they are now climbing up the index,” explains Morshead.
German nationality ranked highest in the world
Scoring 82.7% and consistently ranking highest for the last five years, Germany’s quality of nationality remains first in the world, according to the QNI.
Following closely behind Germany, France and Denmark share second place on the index with a score of 82.4%, and Iceland ranks third overall at 81.3%. The UK also ranked in the Extremely High category, just missing out on the ‘Top 10’ in 12th position with a score of 79.2%. The US, meanwhile, ranked 29th on the QNI with a score of 68.8% — still higher than the EU mean of 63%. The global mean in 2016 was 39.32%, with Afghanistan taking last position on the index with a score of 14.6%.
Brexit and the notion of global citizenship
This second edition of the QNI also discusses the quality of post ‘hard Brexit’ British nationality, comparing this against its nationals’ current status as citizens of the EU. According to QNI author Prof. Dr. Dimitry Kochenov, a ‘hard Brexit’ will confer to the UK a nationality that does not bestow settlement and work rights in 27 leading states, overwhelmingly impairing its quality and dropping it from the elite group of Extremely High Quality of nationalities, like those of Germany and Switzerland, to the High Quality group, where it will rank alongside the likes of Brazil and Romania.
“All UK-issued statuses of nationality are on track to lose a very large share of value as Brexit comes into force over the coming years,” says Morshead. “In the case of a ‘hard Brexit’, the loss of value to British nationality will far exceed the losses experienced by countries in the midst of bitter political and armed conflicts. Over the last six months, in particular, we have witnessed increasing signs of a worrying drift towards insular nationalism, casting a pall of uncertainty over more than four million EU citizens — including the three million Britons currently living in the EU and the one million EU citizens living in the UK.”
Morshead concludes, “The moral is simple. EU citizenship is an extremely valuable resource and its elimination, which could effectively cripple millions of citizens’ opportunities, should not be taken lightly.”
A unique measurement tool
The QNI is relevant to both individuals interested in the mobility and the possibilities and the limitations of their nationalities, and governments focused on improving the local, regional and global opportunities inherent in their passports.
According to Morshead, the reality that the QNI describes is, in one respect, regrettable and, in another, provides an empowering perspective. “In the majority of circumstances, our nationality plays an important role in establishing a highly irrational ceiling for our opportunities and aspirations. On the other hand, the QNI is a vital resource for financially independent individuals who wish to acquire the benefits of dual citizenship as it provides assistance in making important decisions regarding where to live and raise a family, do business, and enjoy a satisfying global lifestyle — in other words, to define their futures.”
“While the QNI is relevant and of interest to all individuals, it is a vital resource for those who are financially independent and wish to enjoy the benefits of alternative citizenship, as it provides assistance in selecting the most valuable second or third nationality for themselves and their families. Over the last decade there has been a growing trend amongst wealthy and talented individuals to build up a citizenship portfolio to ensure greater international opportunity, stability, freedom and security,” Morshead adds.
- Generally, the global quality of nationalities went up by 0.75%. All nationalities saw a change in value in 2016 but only 45 lost value. By comparison, 88 nationalities lost value in 2015
- 140 nationalities increased in value in 2016, which is 59 more than in 2015. The global mean in 2016 was 39.32%, with the German nationality again positioned at the top of the QNI General Ranking with a score of 82.7%, and Afghanistan at the bottom of the index on 14.6%
- In 2016, 28 nationalities were of Extremely High Quality (75% and above); 17 nationalities were of Very High Quality (above 50.0%); 43 nationalities were of High Quality (between 35.0% and 49.9%); 93 nationalities were in the Medium Quality tier (between 20.0% and 34.9%); and 14 nationalities were of Low Quality (below 20.0%)
- The shifts in the High Quality tier are most significant. As many as 17 nationalities which previously belonged to the Medium Quality tier have improved in value and are now classified as High Quality in 2016. These primarily include the nationalities of Colombia and Peru, as well as those of five Caribbean states (the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago), which saw significant improvement in value and in their general ranking positions in 2016, due to the recent Schengen visa liberalization
- In the EU, the Croatian nationality continued to improve and move up the rankings with the removal of settlement restrictions by EU member states, but the remaining nationalities in the EU all fell slightly in value
Risers and fallers 2015–2016
The seven nationalities rising furthest in the ranking in 2016 are five Caribbean states, Timor‑Leste and Colombia, all of which benefitted from significant improvement to their Travel Freedom scores due to the opening up of visa-free tourist and business travel to Europe’s Schengen area:
- Timor-Leste was the highest climber, moving up 31 places to 95th place
- Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Commonwealth of Dominica each climbed 25 places on the index, now ranking 65th and 68th respectively
- The third highest climber was Grenada, rising 24 positions to 67th place
- Senegal dropped the most on the index, losing 16 positions to rank 104th
- Libya and Saudi Arabia lost 15 and 14 places respectively on the QNI, dropping to 145th and 82nd position respectively
Top risers and fallers 2012–2016
Over the last five years, Colombia has risen the most on the QNI, climbing by 48 positions to 62nd place. Timor-Leste, which climbed the highest in the latest ranking, is also the second highest climber from 2012–2016, rising by 28 positions overall.
Most of the nationalities which lost significant quality have been affected by political instability or serious conflicts in their respective countries. Such developments have a severe impact on their Peace and Stability score as well as an indirect impact on the Human Development, Economic Strength, and Travel Freedom elements of the index. The Syrian Arab Republic fell the most over the last five years, decreasing its rank by 27 places to settle on 154th position on the 2016 index. Libya — the second largest faller on the index between 2015–2016 — is also the second largest faller over the last five years, dropping by 21 positions to 145th place.