NHR and Crypto “Decisive” in Attracting Americans to Portugal: 10 on The Weekend – Pedro Catão Pinheiro
Ten On The Weekend is a weekly (-ish) feature in IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each time, we ask the same ten questions of a different industry figure, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might in an ordinary business setting.
Our guest this weekend is Pedro Catão Pinheiro of NEXT Lawyers Gali Macedo & Associados.
How do you spend your weekends?
Different from the constant rush of weekdays, on weekends, I like to slow down, invest time in self-improvement hobbies, and especially be with my girlfriend, family, and friends.
Saturdays are usually dedicated to quick runs nearby the ocean in the morning, outdoor activities, going to the cinema on rainy days, and going out for dinner and drinks with friends.
On Sundays, whenever possible, I like to have lunch with the family and spend the rest of the day just relaxing, reading, and preparing for the week ahead.
What are your top three business goals this year?
2020 was the year the world almost stopped.
Due to the pandemic and lockdowns, several residency application files got delayed due to people’s inability to travel, attend appointments at the SEF – Portugal’s Immigration and Border Service – or simply conclude their investments.
Thus, referring to our law firm’s immigration department, our main business goal is to process all pending files that are pending from 2020 and early 2021, as soon as possible, allowing people to resume their normal lives without constraints related to their immigration files.
The second business goal is to support developers to adapt and improve their investment solutions for the changes to be implemented in the Portuguese Residence Permit by Investment Program (ARI/Golden Visa) from January 2022, onwards.
Considering that we are currently in late November, I am very happy to see that our clients improved their investment and product offers, by adding real estate products located in the country’s interior regions to their portfolios and creating new solutions such as investment funds.
The third business goal is to support the growing number of Digital Nomads that are choosing Portugal to live and spend, at least, a big part of their year.
In this case, besides the normal legal consultancy and support on the immigration process, we specially provide legal services on efficient tax planning solutions and the establishment of corporate business.
What’s your biggest business concern right now?
My biggest concern is the extinction of the current Immigration and Borders Service – SEF. By political initiative and intending to restructure the security forces in Portugal, the Portuguese government decided to abolish the current Foreigners and Borders Service – SEF, distributing police, criminal investigation, and border control duties to other existing security forces and creating a new administrative service, called the “Portuguese Agency for Migration and Asylum”.
The Portuguese Agency for Migration and Asylum will only have administrative powers related to procedures for granting residence visas and/or residence permits in Portugal, while the procedures for renewing current residence permits and issuing passports will be under the responsibility of the National Institute of Registry and Notary.
Thus, after a very complicated period arising from the pandemic crisis, which created several delays in the processing of immigration files, I am concerned that a restructuring of immigration services in Portugal, at this moment, leads to further delays.
Which book is on your nightstand right now?
In Math We Trust, by Simon Dingle.
How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
I first got into the investment migration industry when I joined our law firm – Next Gali Macedo & Associados, Sociedade de Advogados, SP, RL – as a trainee lawyer back in 2015.
Through the initiative of our managing partner, Tiago Gali Macedo, our Law firm, established in 2005, always supported foreign citizens in establishing or relocating their businesses and lives to Portugal through a “traditional” residency visa or residency permit process.
However, upon the formal creating of the Portuguese Residency by Investment program on October 8, 2012, Immigration law and practice became one of the most important areas of our firm.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
I consider myself lucky to have had several moments, in my professional capacity as a lawyer and, in particular, as an immigration lawyer, where I feel proud of our team and work.
However, I guess one of my proudest moments was when, back in early 2016, we managed to obtain the residency permit for a family coming from a very war-ravaged area in Syria.
The appreciation and gratitude of the family to have the opportunity to restart life in a stable and safe country, especially for the children, is something that I will never forget in my life.
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
The United States. Demand from this market has increased enormously since the spring of 2021, at least for Portugal.
Because of the pandemic and lockdown measures, I think people are now interested not only in the big vibrant cities but also in smaller towns, where raising a family can be simpler, comfortable, and safe.
Also, I believe people will now focus more on the quality and costs of the health care services provided in each country and, on that measure, Portugal excels.
Lastly, I expect that working remotely will become one of the rules of the future of work and employment. Thus, people will choose to live in countries where they have a high quality of life, welfare, and safety, but also a more tax-efficient environment.
The Portuguese non-habitual tax regime (NHR) is playing a decisive role in attracting US citizens – or simply US residents – to Portugal, especially among already-retired people.
If you could go 10 years back in time, what business decision would you change?
To invest in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology sooner.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
I must always appoint my managing partner and mentor, Tiago Gali Macedo, for his legal expertise and creative mind on the development of new solutions for the investment migration market in Portugal and Europe, and Nicolas Salerno, board member of INVESTAUREUM Group, for his outstanding know-how, track record, and expertise in on the investment migration industry and programs worldwide.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
I strongly believe that crypto and blockchain technology will change the world and lead to huge technological advancements, not only in DeFi or the now-popular Metaverse but also for daily things, such as having public and official documents as NFTs.
The Portuguese Golden Visa has more investment routes besides real estate, such as investment routes for job creation, venture capital fund of funds dedicated to the capitalization of companies, or direct incorporation of companies.
Furthermore, Portugal has a booming tech ecosystem, along with a beneficial tax regime (NHR) that can truly encourage people from the crypto community and tech industries to migrate to Portugal.
Thus, I believe that each year people will start applying for the Portuguese Residence Permit by Investment Program (ARI/Golden Visa) by investing in different options than real estate, especially people from the crypto community and tech industries.
Therefore, five years from now, we will be the benchmark law firm in Portugal for providing legal assistance and consultancy to cutting-edge companies or industries supported and financed by foreign investment, through the ARI, and legally supporting the investors, also in their lives, investments, businesses, and dreams in Portugal.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.