Chilean nationality most valuable in Latin America and Caribbean

26 April 2018 5 min. read
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Henley & Partners have released their third edition of the Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index. The index reveals the most desirable countries around the world to live in based on a number of criteria, including both internal and external factors. In Latin America and the Caribbean, Chile took the first spot, followed closely by Argentina and Brazil. 

The Quality of Nationality Index combines both the internal and external values of nationality. The internal characteristics of nationality lie in the quality of life that one has in their country of origin and opportunities for personal growth within the country. Within this bracket of internal factors are human development, economic strength as well as the peace and stability of the country.

External values comprise of the diversity and quality of opportunities that one’s nationality allows a citizen to pursue outside their country of origin. These include destinations for visa-free entry, travel restrictions and second country settlement freedoms. Accordingly, the residency and citizenship planning consulting firm Henley & Partners then compiles the data to include both internal and external factors and give a ranking of countries.Chile, Argentina & Brazil ranked in Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the most valuable nationality to hold is Chilean, with the country ranked at number 34 with a score of 53.7%. Argentina (36th) and Brazil (37th) trailed behind Chile with scores of 52.3% and 52.1% respectively. Chile has been gradually moving up the index in the past few years. The Andean nation has had an increase in results since the beginning of the index in 2011 when it scored 48.3%. The one category where Chile fell short was that of ‘settlement freedom’. 

Settlement freedom

Chile’s settlement freedom options came in behind that of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Although the four South American countries scored behind Chile in the overall ranking, they all have greater options for settlement outside of their own country. The QNI looks at two criteria to come to this conclusion; the number of different countries where their citizens can settle and the value of being able to settle there. 

Chile, Argentina & Brazil ranked in QNI Settlement Freedoms

The second value set is derived from the index’s Human Development and Economic Strength section wherein the receiving country is ranked. For instance, whilst a Chilean national could choose to live in either France or Syria, the benefits of settling in France far outweigh those of relocating to the latter. Chile’s options to settle and work visa-free are mildly more limited than some of its Southern American peers. 

The other external factor which was taken into account was visa-free travel. Chile managed to take the top spot in Latin America with 161 countries allowing Chileans to travel visa-free. The country ranked joint number 16th worldwide with Hong Kong and was followed by Brazil and Argentina with 160 and 158 visa-free destinations respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum were Suriname at 100, Guyana (98th), Belize (94th) and Bolivia (88th) which all fell into the medium quality category. Venezuela ranked only one spot below Colombia at 62, and Mexico (52nd) took top spot for Central America with score of 43.7%.

Overview of Latin America in QNI 2018

About the index

The index itself is the result of a successful partnership between Henley & Partners and Dimitry Kochenov, a leading constitutional law professor with a long-standing interest in European and comparative citizenship law. It is the first index of its kind to objectively rank the quality of nationalities and citizenship globally, with data input from leading international institutions and experts including the World Bank, the UN and the International Air Transport Association. The firm utilize this information to help individuals and families become more mobile as a direct response to globalization with their residence and citizenship programs.

Christian H. Kälin, co-creator of the QNI and Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, said the Index is useful for individuals to understand the value of their citizenship and the benefits of relocating for citizenship. He also noted on how the information could be used for governments to understand their citizenship challenges and to improve the local, regional, and global reach of the nationalities they provide. “It is 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,” Kälin says. 

“The reality that the QNI describes is, in many respects, regrettable: in the majority of circumstances, our nationality plays an important role in establishing a highly irrational ceiling for our opportunities and aspirations. An exception to the rule is the expansive freedom of movement and settlement enjoyed by nationals of France, the Netherlands, and Finland, among others.

“These are the most globally integrated citizenships in the world, turning the national borders of roughly one quarter of the world’s states into myths for their holders and liberating their citizens from imaginary geographical limitations. For the many individuals who do not automatically enjoy such boundless levels of access and mobility, residence and citizenship programs provide an alternative path to freedom. The appeal of this option is growing each year.”