Opinion: Choosing the Perfect Country

by Daniel Goldscheider

Many of us never question our citizenship, but once you think of your citizenship as a choice rather than a given, the obvious question is, what country should you choose? There are many personal preferences and reasons that come into play but there are also many objective criteria which can and should be tracked to aid in making an informed choice.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the multinational professional services network, has released Paying Taxes 2015, a report that tracks countries by total tax rate, time taken to comply and number of payments to create an overall tax rating. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) lead the pack, followed by Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Singapore. The complete table can be scrutinized online in the report’s Overall Ranking and Data Tables should tax be a primary motivator for alternative citizenship.

Pension systems are under a lot of pressure as societies around the world age. Allianz, an international financial services provider, tracks countries in its Pension Sustainability Index. In the 2014 report, Australia leads Sweden and New Zealand, followed by Norway and the Netherlands.

Mathis Wackernagel co-created the 'footprint' term and methodology to measure ecological constraints and founded the Global Footprint Network. I joined the board of this organization in 2014. Countries with the most bio-capacity per capita produce a few unusual leaders: Gabon, Bolivia, and Mongolia are ahead of Canada and Australia. You find much more in the Ecological Wealth of Nations, a free online publication.

Irrespective of whether you believe that climate change is manmade or not, it is a fact that global temperatures are rising. The Global Adaptability Index (GAIN) developed by the University of Notre Dame in Chicago looks at 45 indicators for 178 countries to determine how well they are positioned to deal with a changing climate. Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, Finland and Denmark are currently best prepared to deal with global warming.

Helping people to obtain the citizenship they desire is just one half of the medal. Equally important is supporting people in ultimately choosing a country which addresses their concerns and fits their personal requirements. There is a growing number of options available today to obtain residence and citizenship rights, and ultimately, this competition between countries on many different levels, I believe, increases the quality of life and personal security for everyone.

Daniel Goldscheider is an international serial entrepreneur, technology investor and member of Henley & Partners' Board of Advisors.

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