QNI • Golden Passports and a Professor

Readers need to know two crucial facts upfront when dealing with the Quality of Nationality Index. A critical player of the Golden passport/visa industry is involved, and the self-proclaimed “Passport Professor” Dimitry Kochenov was targeted in a 2019 investigation by Dutch news program Nieuwsuur into passport trade. The University of Groningen reprimanded him for breaching its conflict of interest rules, failing to disclose his external side jobs. Even now, there are questions about a research project of the professor. As a result of the scandal, Kochenov left the university. Kochenov terminated some ancillary positions but, after the reprimand, remained involved in a project he is conducting with Swiss lawyer and businessman Christian Kälin, chief executive of the citizenship consultancy Henley & Partners. More details here. QNI Golden Passport Kochenov

QNI Golden Passport KochenovThe 300+ pages of the book are not easy to digest. Twenty-six pages lay down the methodology, 65 pages are rankings, and 140 pages were expert opinions, partly from people involved in the golden passport/residency scheme. Before I wrote this article, I sent Kochenov and Lindeboom (the editors of the index) eight simple questions to enlighten me on their theory and purpose. Kochenov refused to answer and sent me “…links to read”. Lindeboom referred me to Kochenov “…as he can answer your questions more eloquently”.


“The industry loves rankings. The Passport Index was the first smart marketing gig.”

QNI Golden Passport Kochenov
Pic 1. A current poll result on the passport index.

The authors call it a myth that nationalities are equal, but nobody ever claimed it to be otherwise. Is democracy equal? Are laws equal? Are education systems identical? No, no, and no. QNI Golden Passport Kochenov

The chosen factors like legal status of nationality, development of talent, and business and compositions like Human development, Economic strength, peace, stability, settlement freedom, and travel freedom seem to me as more criteria for wealthy clients to consider when they buy citizenship. As for an ordinary citizen with one passport, all this is irrelevant.

If inequality of (citizenship) laws is such a big issue, why are there no criteria in their QNI to consider this? Citizenship will always be unequal as it’s a national interest related to national security. No way that this will change. QNI Golden Passport Kochenov

“Inequality and Passport Apartheid are slogans of the industry to justify its business.”

An abolishment of citizenship or global regulation of citizenship will not happen (as some actors in this game are dreaming of) in our global world in a migration crisis and with a security syndrome.

QNI Golden Passport Kochenov
Pic 2. A current poll result on passports for sale.

The QNI claims to objectively rank the nationalities’ quality based on the criteria/composition chosen. How objectively are these rankings which might have been selected with the participation of players from the Golden Passport Industry?

If you visit the QNI website, you will find an “Investment Migration” button that invites you basically to buy a different passport!?

So, why the QNI, a reader might ask? What are the results and further actions after six years of QNI? The huge revelation is that citizenships are not equal? That’s it? QNI Golden Passport Kochenov

But what’s next? Will the authors fight for more (legal) citizenship equality or did the QNI just serve his purpose for the industry to promote its frequently used catchphrases “INEQUALITY” and “PASSPORT APARTHEID”?

“The sale of passports to wealthy clients surely makes the
complained inequality even bigger!”

Hence, the conclusion can only be – another index for one purpose -to justify and promote the Golden Passport/Visa Industry even more. QNI Golden Passport Kochenov

But finally, the European Union woke up. It seems to be the end of golden passports and golden visas can only be issued under much stricter rules.

The role of the “Passport Professor” – Prof. Kochenov in the Golden Passport business is much bigger than he wants to admit. See yourself, here… (set subtitles to English).


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