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Tired of Brexit and Trump? Move to Sweden, ‘most liberal countries’ ranking recommends

Feeling disconnected in post-Brexit Britain or a USA soon to be presided over by Donald Trump? Consider moving to Sweden, according to a new list highlighting the "most liberal countries you could move to in 2017".

Tired of Brexit and Trump? Move to Sweden, 'most liberal countries' ranking recommends
Sweden is one of the places to go if you're down about Trump or Brexit, a new list claims. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

The ranking, created by British relocation service MoveHub, compiled data from three major global studies – the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, the 2016 Social Progress Index, and Yale University’s 2016 Environmental Performance Index (EPI).

It judged Sweden to be the third most liberal country in the world.

“We decided to do the study now because we felt that it was timely with Brexit due to be triggered, and Trump’s inauguration on January 20th,” MoveHub’s Harriet Cann told The Local.

The list took into account factors like gender equality, the rights of minorities, personal safety, and environmental measures such as soil, air and water quality in its ranking.

Sweden placed high because, among other things, it was the third best in the world on the EPI’s measure of air quality, water, sanitation, biodiversity and climate change, while in the World Economics Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, it performed well on factors like economic participation, opportunity and political empowerment.

READ ALSO: Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world

“I wasn’t too surprised by Sweden’s performance, as it is widely considered to be a progressive country – particularly with gender equality and the world’s first feminist government,” Cann noted, referring to the 24 positions on Sweden’s government cabinet being shared evenly among the sexes.

If you’re a liberal looking to get away from Trump or Brexit “Sweden would be a great place to move to,” she recommended. Not quite as great as Iceland though, which topped the list thanks to its progress on gender equality and high percentage of renewable energy use. Finland placed second.

Whether liberals excited by the prospect of a Swedish escape can find somewhere to live there is a different question: a shortage of affordable housing in some parts of the country led streaming giant Spotify to complain last year that it may struggle to recruit international talent, while earlier this year it was revealed that over half a million people are now waiting in the queue to earn a long-term rental agreement from Stockholm's Housing Agency.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

People who have more than one citizenship often hold multiple passports, so what does this mean for crossing borders? Here's what you should know.

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

For many readers of The Local, gaining citizenship of the country where they live helps them to feel more settled – but there are also travel benefits, including avoiding the long ‘non EU’ queue when coming back into the Schengen zone.

But this week the problems associated with travelling while holding dual citizenship came to light, leaving many people wondering what they should know when they are entering different countries.

Put simply – which passport should you use? And do you have to carry both with you?

Financial Times journalist Chris Giles tweeted that the UK Border Force “detained” his dual-national daughter while she was travelling from France into the UK with her German passport – and not her British one. 

He went on to say that UK border guards released his daughter. According to Giles, the border staff said she should have had both passports with her “and asked why she was travelling on her German one”.

The rules on dual-nationality have not changed, but now that the UK is not in the EU, there are strict rules on non-Brits who enter the country (and vice-versa) which has made it trickier for travel.

For instance, UK nationals receive a stamp in their passport when entering Schengen member states because they are only allowed to stay up to 90 days within an 180 period (unless they have a visa or residency card).

READ ALSO: Brexit: EU asks border police not to stamp passports of British residents 

People coming from the EU to the UK can generally visit as a tourist for up to six months without a visa – but are not allowed to carry out any work while there.

So which passport should you show?

The first thing to be aware of is there are no specific rules on travelling with more than one passport. 

Travellers can choose to use whichever passport they prefer when going to a country. 

But one thing to note is that it’s worth using the passport that is best suited to your destination when travelling there. Each country has its own set of immigration and visa rules that you’ll need to research closely.

It could be that one passport is better suited for your trip – and you may be able to avoid visa requirements.  

READ ALSO: How powerful is the German passport?

In the case of the UK, many people are still getting to grips with the different rules that apply because it’s not in the EU anymore.

A question submitted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in September 2021 provided some insight into this issue. 

The question from Labour’s Paul Blomfield asked what steps the UK government “is taking to enable dual UK and EU citizens to travel to the UK on an EU member state passport without having to further prove their UK citizenship?”

The Conservatives Kevin Foster said: “Border Force Officers examine all arriving passengers to establish whether they are British citizens, whether they require leave to enter or if they are exempt from immigration control.

“Where the passenger claims to be British, but does not hold any evidence of British citizenship, the officer will conduct all relevant checks to satisfy themselves the passenger is British.

Border control at Hamburg airport.

Border control at Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

“When dual nationals who are eligible to use e-gates travel to the UK, they will enter via the e-gates without being examined by an immigration officer.

“We recommend all dual nationals, including EU citizens, travel on their British passport or with evidence or their British citizenship to minimise any potential delay at the border or when commencing their journey.”

The Local contacted the UK Home Office to ask if there was any official advice. 

A spokesman said: “An individual can present whichever passport they desire to enter the UK, however they will be subject to the entry requirements associated with the nationality of the passport they present.”

They said anyone who is looking for more information should check out guidance on entering the UK and on dual nationality.

In short, if you present a German passport on entry to the UK you will be treated the same as any other German citizen – which can include being quizzed about your reasons for visiting the UK – as border guards have no way of knowing that you are a dual-national. 

Do I have to carry both passports?

There’s no rule requiring you to have both passports, but you won’t get the benefits of a British passport (entry into the UK without questions) if you don’t show it.

Likewise if you are a French-British dual national and you enter France on your UK passport, you will need to use the non-EU queue and may have your passport stamped.

Should I think about anything else?

An important thing to remember is that if you apply for a visa and register your passport details, the same passport has to be used to enter the country. 

It could also make sense to travel with both passports, just in case. 

However, note that some countries – like the US – require that US nationals use a US passport to enter and leave the States even if they are dual nationals. 

In general, it’s best to use the same passport you entered a country with to depart.

The rules and systems are different depending on the country. But many countries require people to show their passport when leaving – and they will either stamp or scan the passport – this is how authorities know that a foreign visitor hasn’t overstayed their time in the country. 

So if your passport is checked as you leave the UK, you should show the one you arrived with, just to ensure there is a record of you arriving and leaving.

However as you enter France/Germany/other EU destination, you can show your EU passport in order to maximise the travel benefits of freedom of movement.

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