New Zealand immigration authorities review Megaupload co-founder's visa

- Posted in New Zealand by Visa Bureauon 24 January 2012

Kim Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz, was arrested in Auckland on the 19th January for copyright infringement due to his website Megaupload. Both the Labour and New Zealand First political parties have called for an inquiry into how Kim Dotcom was granted a New Zealand visa despite declaring his previous convictions.

Immigration New Zealand has revealed that Mr Dotcom was granted permanent residency under the Investor Plus category in 2010. This category permits people to gain residency if they invest NZ$10 million (£5 million) in government bonds.

Mr Dotcom was arrested along with six other associates on criminal copyright infringement charges after an investigation by the United States' FBI, the Hong Kong Department of Justice, the UK's Metropolitan Police Service and several other European law enforcement agencies.

Megaupload and all its sister sites have since been taken down but at its height, Megaupload was one of the most popular sites on the Internet with 50 million users a day and accounting for almost 15% of all Internet traffic.

Mr Dotcom had previously been convicted in the largest ever insider-trading case in German history as well as other convictions for handling stolen goods, embezzlement and copyright infringement.

Mr Keys has said New Zealand immigration officials are reviewing Mr Dotcom's case internally to check its validity:

"The issue is whether he met the good character tests and, according to the law the wait it's applied, he did. Immigration are looking at his particular file just to check that they appropriately applied the rules and ticked all of the right boxes."

Mr Dotcom had been renting and living in what is popularly known as 'New Zealand's most expensive house' in Auckland but was refused permission by the Overseas Investment Office to buy the NZ$30 million (£15.5 million) property in 2011 and it is this, according to Labour Party leader David Shearer, which raises concerns about Mr Dotcom's visa application.

"How do we allow somebody like this to come in that had convictions in other countries? At the same time, he's not being permitted to buy the property that he's been using and I think that brings up some questions". 

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.