The French nationality rank first in Kälin and Kochenov’s Quality of Nationality Index . Picture: Pixabay.

French nationality has been ranked the best in the world for the 8th consecutive year, according to the latest findings of the Kälin and Kochenov’s Quality of Nationality Index (QNI). 

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 a joint second place with 82.8%. 

While the difference between the quality of French and Dutch and German nationalities is relatively narrow, 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 a joint fourth spot with 81.5%. Making the rest of the top 10 are Iceland (81.4%), Finland (81.2%), Italy (80.7%), the UK (80.3%), Ireland (80.2%), and Spain (80.0%). 

South Africa was placed 85th on the list. 

The bottom three nationalities on this year’s QNI are South Sudan (157th), Afghanistan (158th), and Somalia (159th), with respective scores of 15.9%, 15.4%, and 13.8%.

Despite its 8th position, there are concerns that the ramifications of a ‘hard’ Brexit could well sink the quality of the UK, from 8th globally, to 56th (the current position of China). 

A statement released by Henley & Partners revealed that EU countries generally perform extremely well on the QNI, largely due to the liberal degree of settlement freedom permitted between member states, as well as the stand-out quality of many of the nationalities in and of themselves. However, the UK could become the exception to this rule. 

Prof Dr Dimitry Kochenov, a law professor and author of Citizenship (MIT Press, 2019) and Dr Christian H Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and author of Ius Doni (Brill, 2019) are the co-creators of the Index. 

Prof. Kochenov explained: “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 still-to-be-determined outcome of Brexit, the UK could see itself falling from the elite group of ‘very high quality’ nationalities into the ‘high quality’ bracket.”

He added: “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 nationality in an irrevocable manner: either you have such rights, or not – and in such a scenario UK citizens won’t have them.”

Dr Kaelin said 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,."