New Zealand has offered Larry Page, Google‘s co-founder, residency while bypassing many others on the cue who entered New Zealand in January, when its borders were still closed because of Covid-19. But the government said he was allowed in because of a medical emergency application involving his son
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Mr Page is listed as one of the richest people in the world with a reported wealth of more than $116 bn. He stepped down as chief executive of Google’s parent company Alphabet in 2019, but remains a board member and controlling shareholder.
The government of New Zealand said it granted Page the privilege because he is one of the world’s richest men under a category for wealthy investors.
Health Minister Andrew Little defended the decision to grant him entry. “His entry met all the standard conditions of a medical emergency requiring a medical evacuation from the islands, and every requirement and regulation that was in place… was complied with,” Mr Little said, according to a transcript on the parliament’s website.
Reports have it that applicants are required to invest at least NZ$10m ($7m, £5m) in New Zealand over three years. Mr Page, 48, had applied for residence in November. However, his application could not be processed because he was offshore at the time.
But not everyone was convinced, citing apparent unfairness. “We have got these GPs or nurses who are stuck in an interminable waiting room to get their residence, whereas Larry [Page] comes in and boom, straight away can become a resident,” immigration adviser Katy Armstrong told Radio New Zealand.
But in January, the US tech billionaire was allowed into New Zealand so his son could be evacuated from Fiji because of a medical emergency, the government confirmed on Thursday. His application was approved in February.