LACA interview for Valor Magazine

magazine

Lamares, Capela & Associados (LACA) was invited by “Valor Magazine” for an interview about the impact of the pandemic on foreign investors and what are the prospects for 2022, as well as the methodology applied by the team in the relationship with the client and the importance of the Best Immigration Lawyer Award given to the partner Diogo Capela in October this year.

For LACA, some of the goals for 2022 are the continued integration of quality professionals; the strengthening of the Corporate, Real Estate and Tax areas; the expansion to other regions of the country; the intensification of partnerships abroad and the continued investment in training and IT tools that contribute to a quality service and improve the provision of legal services.

See here the article published in the “Retomar Portugal” edition of the magazine.

Contact us for more details.

Lamares, Capela & Associados is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and we will only use your personal information to manage your account and provide the products and services you have requested. Occasionally, we would like to contact you about our products and services and also about other matters that may be of interest to you.

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With the definitive end to the Golden Visa approved yesterday by the President of the Republic, it’s time to move towards a more stable investment framework and diversify the forms of investment in Portugal.

There is no doubt that Portugal continues to be a very attractive destination for investors who now find their investment options more limited, but still have plenty to choose from.

If the initial objective is indeed the Golden Visa, they can continue to apply according to the conditions we have already detailed in this article – namely the creation of 10 new jobs (or maintenance of 5) and investment in scientific research or Portuguese cultural heritage.

As direct, or indirect real estate investment is out of the equation, there are other benefitable investment options that are increasingly interesting for international investors – investment funds.

 

Investment Funds – what are they?

What are investment funds anyway? For those new to the area, this expression may “scare” you, but the idea (and the explanation) is simpler than it seems – it’s about investing together.

Due to the amounts of investment required and the greater complexity of some areas of investment, it presupposes that there is a professional manager, i.e. a specialist – a fund manager – looking after your money. You can also invest on your own, but this is not advisable, especially if you have no experience.

Participation in the fund is proportional, i.e. each person who invests in the fund receives a proportional share of the profits or losses, based on how much they have invested. If you have a manager, you will also have to pay them a fee for their services.

Usually, funds are flexible, meaning you can buy or sell your stake in the fund at any time and thus guarantee liquidity. It’s a convenient and affordable option for individual investors.

 

Investment Funds in Portugal

There are several investment options in Portugal that offer profitability and opportunities for foreign investors:

 

Renewable Energy Investment Funds

Portugal has invested significantly in renewable energies, such as solar and wind. Investing in funds related to clean energy can be an interesting option as the country seeks to increase its renewable energy production.

 

Tourism Investment Funds

Tourism is a vital industry in Portugal, and investment funds focused on this sector can be attractive to investors.

Some of these units are strongly related to the maintenance of Portugal’s cultural heritage, which could still be a route to the Golden Visa. It’s also an area that usually creates a lot of jobs.

 

Capital Market Investment Funds

Capital markets are essential components of a country’s financial system and play a key role in allocating financial resources. They are where companies and governments can raise money by selling shares, bonds, and other financial instruments to investors. In Portugal, there are several capital markets, including Euronext Lisbon – and the Stock Market for companies within Euronext -, the Alternext market, and the Debt Market.

 

Agricultural Investment Funds

Investment funds in the agricultural sector are investment vehicles that focus on activities related to agriculture, agro-industry, and agrobusiness. These funds invest in projects, companies, or assets linked to the agricultural sector, with the aim of generating a financial return for investors. They can include various areas such as food cultivation, production of agricultural commodities, food processing, agricultural logistics, and much more.

In Portugal, some investment funds are related to the agricultural sector:

  • Agricultural Venture Capital Funds: investment in start-ups and innovative companies in the agricultural sector, such as those involved in agricultural technology (AgTech) or sustainable solutions for agriculture.
  • Agricultural cooperatives: Although they are not traditional investment funds, agricultural cooperatives in Portugal can be a way of participating in collective agricultural activities and investing in the sector.
  • Financial Institutions: Banks and financial institutions in Portugal can offer investment products – such as Caixa Invest Agro – aimed at the agricultural sector, such as term deposits or thematic investment funds that include agricultural companies.

 

Venture Capital and Private Equity Funds

Investors can tap into venture capital and private equity funds in Portugal. These funds invest in early-stage Portuguese companies or companies looking for growth and expansion. Investors can participate in the success of these companies and receive solid returns based on their performance.

With the start-up ecosystem booming, investing in start-ups is a way of supporting and benefiting from the growth potential of new businesses. These funds can offer significant return opportunities, although they also involve a higher level of risk.

 

Return on Investment Funds

As for profitability, returns vary depending on the type of fund and the underlying assets. It is important to realize that all investments carry a certain level of risk, and returns are not guaranteed. Investors should carry out careful research and consider their risk profile before investing in any fund.

In addition, it is advisable to consult a financial advisor or investment specialist for personalized guidance based on your financial goals and individual situation. Portugal can continue to be an excellent choice for investors if they are willing to explore the various investment opportunities available in the country.

We’re here to help you with this mission and to answer any questions you may have about this or any other topic that falls under the remit of our team of lawyers. Discover all our services here and don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out more.

The minor or incapacitated children of individuals who have acquired Portuguese nationality derived after the birth of their children may apply for the acquisition of Portuguese nationality, expressing such will and proving the fulfillment of the applicable legal requirements.

However, this claim can be opposed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, through a legal action opposing the acquisition of nationality, and one of the grounds that the Public Prosecutor’s Office can use in this action is the lack of an effective link of the applicant to the Portuguese community.

If the Public Prosecutor’s Office decides to oppose the acquisition of nationality, it will still have to prove that the person concerned does not have such link as, since 2006, and after express confirmation by the Supreme Administrative Court in 2016, it has been clear that the applicant for nationality only has to declare, and no longer has to prove, that he has an effective connection to the Portuguese community.

It is true that, in 2019, an Internal Service Guideline was issued by the Central Registry Office, which determined the presumption of the existence of an effective connection to the national community by all minors under 14 years of age, with the aim, among others, of relieving the pressure that had been generated on the courts in the past with the submission of several legal actions opposing the acquisition of nationality by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

However, in October 2022, Internal Guidance ceased to apply, and the Registry Services began to consider that a case-by-case analysis should be carried out and that situations in which the Registrars had well-founded suspicions of the lack of an effective connection to the national community should be reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, regardless of the age of the person concerned.

How can one justify the opposition to the acquisition of Portuguese nationality?

We are waiting to see whether the Conservatives will only report cases where they have “well-founded suspicions” that there is no effective link or whether they will do so in all cases, leaving it to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate and, if it so decides and has sufficient evidence, to take legal action against the opposition to nationality.

It also remains to be seen whether the Public Prosecutor’s Office will file opposition actions in all cases, regardless of the evidence it can (or cannot) gather, leaving the final realization of justice in the case in the hands of the judges, or whether it will only file an opposition judiciously when it has evidence of the absence of an effective link.

In addition to these doubts, there is also perplexity and concern about the counting of the 1 year available to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to file an opposition. In 2022, the Portuguese Nationality Regulation was amended in such a way that the time limit will be counted from the date of registration of the acquisition of nationality, instead of the date of the fact on which the acquisition of nationality depends (i.e., the applicant’s manifestation of the will, which occurs with the submission of the file), and which was the solution previously in force.

This means that, as of April 15, 2022, and even about cases that were already pending on that date (except cases based on the descent of Sephardic Jews), the Public Prosecutor’s Office can now oppose the acquisition of nationality, even after it has already been registered in the Portuguese Civil Registry.

From our experience, we can say that there are already Civil Registry Officers who are notifying the interested parties in cases submitted more than 1 year ago that they may report their cases to the Public Prosecutor’s Office on the grounds of lack of effective connection to the national community.

However, we continue to follow these cases closely to see what the practice of the Civil Registry and the Public Prosecutor’s Office will lead to in these matters.

Do not hesitate to contact our team if you have any questions about this matter or need advice on any other related to obtaining Portuguese nationality or citizenship.

In this article, we will explore the time limit for opposing nationality acquisition in Portugal, as defined in Article 56, number 1, of the Nationality Regulation (Decree-Law no. 237-A/2006, dated 14th December). Recently, there have been amendments to the regulation that have significant implications for the process. We will discuss these changes and their potential impact on individuals seeking Portuguese nationality.

We mention “recent” changes, but the amendment has been in effect for over a year since April 2022. Despite this, it seems that the activity of the Registry Office has become more intense now, and considering the numerous questions we receive daily on this topic, we deemed it necessary to write an article to explain.

 

The Previous Time Limit and its Basis

Under the previous version of the Nationality Regulation, the one year for opposition to nationality was calculated from “the date of the fact on which the acquisition of nationality depends.” In practical terms, this referred to the date of submission of the nationality acquisition process, where the individual’s will to acquire nationality was manifested.

 

Recent Amendment – DL 26/2022

In 2022, a notable amendment (DL 26/2022) was made to the Nationality Regulation, coming into force on 15th April. Surprisingly, this change was implemented with minimal announcement by the government. The amendment introduced a significant change to the time limit for opposing nationality acquisition.

 

Current Time Limit for Opposing Nationality

As per the amended Article 56 of the Nationality Regulation, the Public Prosecutor now has one year from the date of registration of nationality acquisition to file a judicial action in administrative and tax courts to oppose the acquisition of nationality by the will.

This means that the registration date, which is the date of the nationality grant, allows the initiation of legal action at any point during the process and even within one year after the process is concluded.

 

Early Identification and Concerns

Being vigilant of legislative changes, we were among the first to draw attention to the amendment before it was enacted. We expressed concerns about this change, considering that the previous time limit for opposing nationalities was more favorable to applicants.

 

Cases Pending and Notifications

According to the law of 2022, the amended Decree-Law applies to cases pending on the date of its entry into force. As a result, the Registry Office is indeed notifying cases pending for more than one year since the date of submission.

 

Our Ongoing Cases

Concerning our specific cases, despite having several ongoing processes, we have received notifications in only a few cases where the process was initiated in 2021 and the notifications were received in 2023. Interestingly, these notifications were not solely related to connection proof; there were other factors involved.

In response, we handled these cases strategically, and, so far, none of them have escalated to court. Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant, as the possibility remains.

 

Conclusion

Understanding the time limit for opposition to nationality is crucial for individuals seeking Portuguese nationality. The recent amendments to the Nationality Regulation have shifted the basis of this time limit, impacting the process and potential legal actions. We advise applicants to be well-informed and proactive during the process and seek legal guidance to navigate any challenges effectively.

If you wish to do so or have any questions about this topic (or any other), don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of lawyers is available to assist you anytime!

NOTE

This article was written by our lawyer and managing partner Ana Sofia Lamares.

She has dealt with countless Portuguese nationality requests and her experience is highly sought-after for those seeking help when it comes to granting Citizenship or Nationality. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with her here.

Get in touch with us for further information.

Lamares, Capela & Associados is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and we will only use your personal information to manage your account and provide the products and services you have requested. Occasionally, we would like to contact you about our products and services and also about other matters that may be of interest to you.