Liberal Billionaire Leaves U.S. To Buy Foreign Citizenship

( Larry Page, the co-founder of search and online advertising giant Google, has reportedly officially gained New Zealand residency. It has sparked a global conversation about how he achieved residency in the country, with many suggesting that for rich people, it’s just a matter of buying access to the country.

Page has no family connections to New Zealand, the small island country located in the South Pacific.

According to Immigration New Zealand, the Google co-founder first applied to become a legal resident of New Zealand in November last year. The visa he applied for is available to anybody who is willing to invest a minimum of $7 million USD ($10 million NZ) in the country.

Immigration New Zealand issued a statement describing how Page’s application was not processed when he first applied as he was out of New Zealand owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, once Page entered the country, the application was processed. It was approved on February 4 of this year.

The successful application means that Page intends to live permanently and invest in New Zealand, but does not change his residency status in the United States or any other country. He reportedly first arrived in New Zealand in January after his family made an emergency application for Page’s son to be evacuated from Fiji as he was experiencing a medical emergency.

One day after his visa application was received, an air ambulance from New Zealand flew to Fiji and evacuated the child and a family member of Page to New Zealand.

Page is the sixth richest person in the world and is worth around $117 billion. He is not the only wealthy person to be accepted as a resident of New Zealand based on a promise to invest in the country, either. Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, reportedly obtained citizenship of New Zealand despite never having lived there.

Should rich people be allowed to purchase residency and citizenship of foreign countries?