The UAE has jumped up the global rankings for countries with the highest ‘quality of nationality’, according to a new study by citizenship planning firm Henley and Partners.
The latest Quality of Nationality Index (QNI) finds that the UAE has improved from 36.3 per cent in 2015 to 44.5 per cent in 2016 – of a possible 100 per cent.
The index, which measures the quality of life and opportunities for personal growth within the country and the external value of nationality, found that the average value of GCC nationalities has improved from 35.05 per cent in 2015 to 37.02 per cent in 2016.
The GCC’s overall ranking is higher than the Middle Eastern average of 27.2 per cent.
Overall, among the 195 nationalities listed in the index, the UAE leads the GCC at the 49th spot, followed by Kuwait (72), Saudi Arabia (which dropped 14 spots to 82), Oman (83), and Bahrain (84).
The UAE nationality “has performed remarkably and moved up 13 spots in comparison to last year’s rankings”, the report said.
The report attributed the jump to the EU’s recent exemption of UAE nationals from a Schengen visa, granting visa-free access to the zone. UAE nationals are also given visa-free access to the eight non-Schengen countries in Europe: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, the Vatican, Andorra, San Marino and Monaco.
Bata Racic, manager of Henley & Partners in the Middle East said: “The upward trajectory in the ranking of UAE nationality is a reflection of the nation’s strong and growing diplomatic ties with the EU and other countries. The UAE’s sustained efforts in this area have proved instrumental in elevating the quality of its nationals while providing them with a host of valuable benefits such as the possibility to travel freely.
“Emiratis can now travel to an additional 34 countries for business or tourist purposes and stay there for up to 90 days in any 180-day period in one year. This advantage of increased mobility is of great significance both in qualitative and quantitative terms.”
Globally, Germany topped the QNI with a score of 82.7 per cent, followed by France and Denmark who share second place with a score of 82.4 per cent and Iceland, with 81.3 per cent.
The global mean of the index this year was 39.32 per cent, with Afghanistan sitting at the bottom of the index with a score of 14.6 per cent.
Dr. Dimitry Kochenov, co-author of the QNI, said: “The key premise of the index is that it’s possible to compare the relative worth of nationalities, as opposed to, simply, states. Everyone has a nationality of one or more states. States differ to a great degree — Russia is huge; Malta is small — Luxembourg is rich; Mongolia is less so.
“Just as with the states, the nationalities themselves differ too. Importantly, there is no direct correlation between the power of the state and the quality of its nationality. Nationality plays a significant part in determining our opportunities and aspirations.”