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Proposed by the European Commission in April 2016 and approved in November 2016, ETIAS is a multiple entry visa waiver expected to be launched by the end of 2022.
The global Quality of Nationality Index (QNI) has ranked the French nationality the best in the world for the eighth year running, according to the latest data.
The index ranks nationalities via a strict set of criteria which marks nationalities as ‘better’ than others in terms of the quality of legal status through which citizens’ talents and business can be developed.
The list is compiled by taking into into account factors such as the economy and stability of the country, and citizens’ opportunities for development, as well as their ability to enjoy visa-free travel and work and live abroad.
The list, also known as Kälin and Kochenov’s Quality of Nationality Index, defines nationality as the ‘legal status of attachment to state’. The index is named for its creators, Dr. Christian H. Kälin and Professor Dr. Dimitry Kochenov.
Dr. Kälin, an expert in investment migration, is a law professor and chairman of law firm Henley & Partners. Prof. Kochenov is a specialist in European citizenship law and migration regulation, and Chair of EU Constitutional Law at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
France has now taken the top spot in the index for the 8th year running, with a score of 83.5 out of 100. The ranking is attributed to France’s position as the 6th-strongest economy in the world, as well as its membership of the European Union. Many of the top spots on the index are filled by EU member countries because of the freedom of movement they enjoy.
Holders of a French passport are able to visit over 160 countries without a visa, and the French government has been praised for the degree to which it helps its citizens to travel, live and work abroad.
Germany and the Netherlands both followed closely behind France in the index with a tied score of 82.8. Denmark also made the top 5 with a score of 81.7, while Sweden and Norway tied for 5th place with a score of 81.5.
Finland, Italy, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom rounded out the top 10 nationalities on the index for this year, although the creators of the list have predicted that the UK may not hold on to its place in the next ranking.
The researchers responsible for compiling the index have indicated that the British nationality’s place on the list could fall dramatically in the coming years ‘if the country continues to pursue a hard Brexit’.
Prof. Kochenov has said that Britain could be on the point of undermining the quality of its nationality depending on the eventual outcome of Brexit. Estimates suggest that the UK could fall to as low as 56th on the ranking, putting it in a tie with China, and below Russia, which currently sits at 62.
This is because a hard Brexit result may take away residence and work rights of UK citizens in all European Union jurisdictions, dramatically reducing the number of countries where British citizens are able to live without a visa.
Although citizens of the UK will likely still be able to visit the EU without a visa, they will already be required to obtain a travel authorization for short stays in Schengen countries, the ETIAS visa waiver, once it is introduced by the end of 2021.
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