Acting Business Editor for the NZ Herald

A slow $10 million: Millionaire declined NZ residency

Wealthy Saudi loses residency bid after failing to invest in New Zealand.
Photo / David White
Photo / David White

A member of one of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest families has been denied New Zealand residency because he took too long to invest $10 million in this country.

The man, who was not named in a recent Immigration and Protection Tribunal decision, earned $44 million between 2007 and 2012 and applied for residency as a migrant investor in 2013 for himself, his wife and their four children.

The 45-year-old's application was approved in principle on the condition he invested $10 million in this country within the required 12 months. Immigration New Zealand was satisfied the man had the capacity to make the investment and was told he had received a "significant inheritance" from his father, who had a large shareholding in a successful banking group.

In his residency application he declared he had 61 siblings, nearly all of whom were living in his native country of Saudi Arabia.

Although a Saudi citizen, the man lived in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates with his family.

But the hopeful migrant, who has a business degree from a American university and tertiary qualifications in mathematics, did not transfer the $10 million to this country.

He did not request more time to do so and in June last year, immigration authorities declined his request for residency.

The man, who visited New Zealand for three weeks in 2013, appealed to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.

Representing himself, he said he wanted more time to transfer the $10 million.

He did not respond to requests from the tribunal for more information. The tribunal said Immigration New Zealand correctly declined his application.

"It had no discretion to do otherwise," it said.

"The fact the appellant wishes to invest $10 million in New Zealand but for undisclosed reasons has not done so does not make his circumstances special such as to warrant a recommendation to the Minister of Immigration for consideration of an exception to residence instructions," it said.

Just over 180 people were granted residency as migrant investors in the year to last June.

About 25 of these came under the "investor plus" programme, which requires them to invest $10 million for three years.

The rest came under standard migrant investor scheme, requiring them to contribute $1.5 million to the New Zealand economy for four years.

- Herald on Sunday

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