By Uglobal Staff
Diogo Capela is the co-managing partner at Lamares, Capela & Associados, a law firm in Lisbon, Portugal, which provide legal solutions to those who want to live or invest in Portugal.
Capela enjoys working in the residency and citizenship by investment industry.
“It is a constant challenge because there are many variables that we have to deal with,” he said. “It is important to always be informed and be aware of possible changes. The good thing about working in this area is the possibility of dealing with people from literally all over the world and, through them, create a globalist and informed view of the current reality.”
How and why did you get involved in the investment immigration industry?
My partner – Ana Sofia Lamares – worked for a few years with another lawyer in the immigration area and in 2014, she invited me to join the team. At that time, I had already worked in two other law firms, but had no experience in the area of immigration law. However, as she had known me since university, she believed I could be an asset. Since then, we have been working together, having decided to start our own project in 2019.
What are some current trends you are seeing in the RCBI industry globally?
Specific residence visas for digital nomads/remote workers; it is a trend at global scale that tends to grow even more and is not totally factored in the immigration schemes nowadays. The widening of investment possibilities through crypto assets in RCBI programs seems to me something that will happen in the future, as long as they are regulated internally.
What are some current trends you are seeing with Portugal’s program and its investors?
We have recently witnessed a very significant increase of U.S. citizens wanting to immigrate to Portugal permanently with their families or opting to secure their residence permits in the country through the Golden Visa, something that had never happened before. It seems to me that investors are increasingly looking to our country because of the security it gives them. Our country has no phenomena of violence and this, for any investor, has an enormous weight when in their own countries the climate of insecurity is quite high. Tax advantages associated with foreign residency, specifically non-habitual resident status and the non-taxation of cryptocurrencies has also generated widespread interest from investors.
How do you think the pandemic has impacted the global RCBI industry?
The impact was enormous and had various forms of expression. From the procedural point of view, it created several delays, as some consulates had to close, and no visas were processed during that period. Air traffic restrictions prevented millions of people from travelling, which created a big impact as well. From the point of view of investor interest, I believe that it has not disappeared, but to some extent it may have been suspended. Still, many were those who, being at home, and with more time to plan their future, realized that, to some extent, this would be the ideal moment to follow up on their older projects and thus move forward with their immigration processes.
Has there been any recent changes to Portugal’s program or any new investment options or streams?
The Portuguese government approved the amendments to the conditions of access to the Golden Visa program by investors, who, if they wish to access the program, will have, from Jan. 1, 2022, to invest more capital to obtain the residence permit. Also, investors won’t be able to invest in housing properties in high-density areas such as Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve, in order to promote the investment in the interior territories. Capital transfer must be in an amount equal to or greater than 1.5 million euros instead of the previous amount, which was 1 million euros. The new rules concern all applications for residence permits for investment, required after Jan. 1, 2022. However, these do not apply when renewing residence permits or granting or renewing residence permits for family reunification where the residence permit for investment has been granted under the legal regime applicable until Jan. 1, 2022.
What achievement in this market has been the most rewarding for you? Why?
Having had the possibility of creating an office dedicated to supporting foreign investors and immigration law is something that makes me very happy, as I always had the objective of starting my own office and this market gave me that possibility.
What are your thoughts on vaccine passports?
I think, it is a remarkably interesting measure to stimulate the global economy, which is going to come out of this situation severely affected. The idea of creating a secure measure for the restoration of global travel seems particularly important to me. However, I believe that what is more effective than any vaccine passport is to increase levels of vaccine production and related vaccination of the world's population, as only then can we return to the travelling levels of the past.
What is your take on the importance of cryptocurrency in this industry?
With cryptocurrencies, international transactions became easier, faster and more secure. This can be a problem for some countries, but Portugal continues to be one of the few countries that does not tax income from this type of assets. As I said it before, it seems inevitable to me the regulation by the countries and, from that moment, those same countries should start accepting the use of cryptocurrencies in the concretization of investments necessary to obtain national passports or residence permits if they are countries with programs of citizenship by investment or residence by investment respectively.
Why do you think global mobility is important these days?
Due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for companies to reevaluate their global mobility strategy. As the number of employees who are working in new and different ways is increasing, it is important to maintain the strong business results in this new environment, creating new perspectives, and developing skills that will contribute for the innovation of the company and to enhance their workforce. Within the family framework, the importance given today to the existence of a plan B materialized in a second passport is increasing. The pandemic crisis has put in the spotlight how important it is to be able to move to a safer place (be it in terms of security against violence, health security or even financial security).
Why did you decide to join our Uglobal verified community and what has it done for your business?
Being able to contribute to a community with such importance in the context of global immigration was something I always believed was important. In practical terms, what it gave me was the possibility to deal more closely with other professionals in the area both in Portugal and abroad, which is very gratifying.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
This idea that you do not need to create enemies or be rude to other people to make your presence felt. The idea that you can be correct and fair and ambitious at the same time is something I can identify with, because in my family I have always had the best examples in this respect.
What is the favorite book you have read recently? Why?
“How to Win Friends and Influence People”, by Dale Carnegie. It is a classic that I have only read very recently. A true lesson on how we should relate to others and behave more effectively when it comes to achieving our goals. Since my profession is based entirely on relationships with other people, I think the lessons I have learned from this are indispensable.
What are your top destinations in the world and why?
Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali (Indonesia) and Italy are some of my top destinations. In Portugal, I would say the Silver Coast, and Azores are amazing places to explore. As a hidden gem to be explored, I would say that I have climbed the Mae Hong Son mountain (Thailand) on foot and stayed overnight with the Black Lahu community. That is an experience I will never forget. Waking up in the morning on top of the mountain to see the sun rising after celebrating their New Year's Eve on the previous date made the whole experience unique. In Portugal, I would tell that my experience on climbing Pico (The highest Mountain in Portugal with 2,351 meters) with ice all over the top was also a remarkable experience to me.
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