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August 15, 2021

As google co-founder Larry Page acquires New Zealand residency, we find out why increasing numbers of billionaires are investing in the country and what residency and citizenship options the country offers to ultra high net worth individuals.

Following in the footsteps of tech billionaire, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who acquired New Zealand residency in 2017, Google co-founder Larry Page has secured New Zealand residency with the Investor Plus visa.

Ranked as the sixth wealthiest person in the world, which is more than half of New Zealand’s GDP of US$230 billion a year, Page resigned as CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet in 2019 but remained a board member and controlling shareholder.

Like Thiel, who was approved for citizenship due to his entrepreneurial and philanthropic status which the government felt could be of use to the country, Larry Page, 48, applied for New Zealand residence via the nation’s Investor Plus residency visa, which requires applicants to invest NZ$10 million (US$7 million) in the country over a three-year period and offering in exchange a ‘New Zealand lifestyle’ with your family.

New Zealand lifestyle appealing for HNWIs

And it is the New Zealand lifestyle and its relative isolation from the largest population centres of the world that has made the country a popular destination with HNWIs over the past few years.

Last month, researchers at the Global Sustainability Institute, declared New Zealand the “best place to survive global societal collapse” with the country’s ability to protect its borders and grow food for its population as well as its temperate climate and low population density as key attributes. And there have been reports of billionaires buying land for bunkers in New Zealand in preparation for an apocalypse.

Add to this the fact that is one of the world’s most stable and well-governed nations, with an appealing work-life balance, New Zealand is increasingly becoming an attractive destination for investment, business and raising a family with HSBC’s 2018 Expat Explorer survey ranking it 2nd in the world both for work-life balance and quality of life. It is also consistently ranked in the top 10 when it comes to starting a business and protecting investors. And the country also has no fit, estate or wealth tax, no capital gains tax, an extensive tax treaty network.

Investor visas for New Zealand applicants

To apply for residence in New Zealand through investment, there are two investor categories:

  • Investor 1 – minimum investment of NZ$10 million for at least three years
  • Investor 2 – minimum investment of NZ$3 million for at least four years

The investments must have the potential to contribute to New Zealand’s economy, be able to make a commercial return, and must be in bonds, equities, property or other investments.

There are five types of investments that are accepting including to invest in New Zealand companies owned by overseas companies, investment in residential property, commercial property, philanthropic investment or growth investments.

Once the investment has been kept for the required 3-4 years, individuals can change their resident status to permanent resident and following five years or residency, can apply for citizenship, which will require showing ties to the country such as a permanent home, attending an interview and having knowledge of New Zealand’s history, culture and values. And as dual citizenship is allowed in New Zealand, individuals will not be required to renounce their previous nationality.

The investor visas include family members (family of four). And after five years of residency under either of these options, you can then apply for citizenship

As well as these two investor visa options, the country also offers a Temporary Retirement Category for those over 66 years of age, allowing you to stay longer than the standard visitor visa up to two years. You would need NZ$750,000 to invest in the country for two years and another NZ$500,000 to live on, and an annual income of NZ$60