By now you’ve likely heard that Larry Page, Google co-founder and one of the world’s richest businessmen, has had his application for New Zealand residency under a category for wealthy investors approved.
The news has reported that Page managed to enter New Zealand in January this year, while borders were closed due to the ongoing pandemic. The government has responded to this by stating that he was allowed in under special conditions due to a medical emergency involving his son. Both of them were in Fiji previous to entering New Zealand for medical attention.
The news hasn’t really made clear why this incident is related to his application for residence, which he made in November 2020. Essentially, his application was on pause because he was not in the country. The medical emergency that caused him and his son to relocate from Fiji to New Zealand gave NZ immigration the chance to process his application, which was approved the month after in February. They have both since left the country again, and are not currently in New Zealand.
Criticisims of the immigration process
Some members of NZ parliment have been vocal about this incident, claiming that his entry to NZ was expedited unfairly. Some of these criticisms are fair, but again, it’s important to make a clear distinciton between the medical emergency in January, and the resdency approval in February.
Health Minister Andrew Little spoke in parliment on the former, stating that Page’s entry “met all the standard conditions of a medical emergency requiring a medical evacuation from the islands.” It’s not actually clear that this process has anything formal to do with immigration at all, as they left afterwards. The only real link is that being in the country allowed his previously lodged application to be processed.
That said, those who have been critical have Photo Editing Services called into question why the application was processed so fast after the visit. “We have got these GPs or nurses who are stuck in an interminable waiting room to get their residence,” immigration adviser Katy Armstrong told Radio New Zealand.
This is an important point to raise, because it is true that no-one outside the ministry really knows how the process works. It’s possible that Page’s application took such a short time because there are much fewer applications in the investor category he applied for. If a seperate team of people handles processing investor applications, then of course there would be no queue, but we can only speculate. The government has declined to comment on exactly how the process works, citing a need to protect the privacy of investors.
It’s likely the government does have it’s hands tied on the matter, but that doesn’t change the fact that thousands of migrants are waiting years to secure residency, and it’s natural to feel cheated when someone worth over $116 billion dollars is approved within several weeks.