The current EMI rules require a qualifying company's trade to be carried on "wholly or mainly in the UK". With effect from 6 April this year, this rule is being relaxed so that the company will only be required to have a "permanent establishment" in the UK. This change will allow companies based in the UK which carry out considerable overseas activity to grant EMI options to UK based staff. It will also allow UK tax paying staff of overseas companies with a permanent establishment in the UK to benefit from EMI.
This amendment appears to have been conceded by the Government in order to secure approval from the European Commission that EMI options are consistent with the EU rules on long term State Aid. The Commission has now agreed to grant EMI State Aid approval until April 2018.