WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Google co-founder Larry Website page has obtained New Zealand residency, officers verified Friday, stoking discussion more than no matter if particularly wealthy people can fundamentally get entry to the South Pacific region.

Immigration New Zealand said Site initially used for residency in November under a unique visa open to folks with at least 10 million New Zealand dollars ($7 million) to invest.

“As he was offshore at the time, his application was not able to be processed for the reason that of COVID-19 limits,” the agency mentioned in a statement. “Once Mr. Web page entered New Zealand, his application was able to be processed and it was accepted on 4 February 2021.”

Gaining New Zealand residency would not essentially influence Page’s residency standing in the U.S. or any other nations.

New Zealand lawmakers confirmed that Website page and his son initial arrived in New Zealand in January immediately after the household submitted an urgent application for the son to be evacuated from Fiji owing to a health-related crisis.

“The working day immediately after the software was obtained, a New Zealand air ambulance staffed by a New Zealand ICU nurse-escort medevaced the little one and an grownup family member from Fiji to New Zealand,” Health and fitness Minister Andrew Small advised lawmakers in Parliament.

Tiny was responding to thoughts about how Web page experienced managed to enter the place at a time when New Zealand experienced shut its borders to non-inhabitants in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Little told lawmakers the relatives experienced abided by applicable virus protocols when they arrived.

Page’s residency application was accepted about 3 weeks afterwards.

Immigration New Zealand mentioned that while Web site experienced develop into a resident, he didn’t have everlasting residency position and remained subject to sure limitations.

However, the company on its web site touts the “Investor Plus” visa as presenting a “New Zealand life style,” introducing that “you could be able to convey your car, boat and home products to New Zealand, free of customs fees.”

Some nearby news organizations noted that Page had considering that remaining New Zealand.

Google did not right away answer to requests for comment.

Forbes on Friday ranked Web page as the world’s sixth-wealthiest individual, with a fortune of $117 billion. Forbes pointed out that Page stepped down as chief executive of Google’s father or mother company Alphabet in 2019 but remained a board member and managing shareholder.

Opposition lawmakers said the episode elevated queries about why Page was authorised so rapidly at a time when quite a few experienced employees or divided family users who were determined to enter New Zealand ended up staying turned absent.

“The federal government is sending a information that income is extra crucial than medical doctors, fruit pickers and family members who are separated from their kids,” ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden mentioned in a assertion.

In 2017, it emerged that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel had been capable to achieve New Zealand citizenship six many years before, in spite of by no means obtaining lived in the place. Thiel was accredited after a leading lawmaker determined his entrepreneurial capabilities and philanthropy have been beneficial to the nation.

Thiel did not even have to go away California for the ceremony — he was granted citizenship in the course of a personal ceremony held at the New Zealand Consulate in Santa Monica.