Where to find info?
I am not going to talk about general and basic questions (what’s this contract? Who can sign? Etc.) Everything can be found on this booklet. And I advise you to read it carefully before reading more.
V.I.E. is a French acronym. In English we can translate it by Volunteer for an International Experience. It might be French, however, if you live in Europe, you can apply for this contract. Not just French people.
The word “Volunteer” is very important and I am asking you to keep it in mind! Note it if you want. I am waiting for you before continuing……………
You will find maaaaaaaaaaaaany comments about the V.I.E. contract, positive and negative, of course. Some would say this is the experience that raised their career and some would say this is just modern slavery.
Before embarking on this adventure, you will certainly want to get some information because it’s highly confusing (do I have to remind you this is a French contract? Haha!). It’s a volunteering experience, not an employment contract. You won’t be an employee for this company but you will be attached to a dedicated agency, called Business France, owned by the French Ministries of Economy and Foreign Affairs, but you won’t be a civil servant neither… The website is not very understandable, you waste time trying to find the correct information, some students’ websites also explain the principles of the VIE system, and… as you are young and digital, you will go on Facebook, convinced that a group exists. And you are perfectly right.
However, be careful! This group won’t probably answer to your expectations. It’s very active and the community is very important (there is also sub-groups for a particular city or country). Even if it’s active, the huge majority of members do not participate in the conversations and only a minority is active (rather members who will post only once, just for a particular question, a search for information, or a job offer to replace them). Unfortunately, most of candidates and existing VIEs are not really resourceful and you will constantly see the same requests (and this is exhausting) and especially the same stupid questions that could be avoided by simply reading the VIE support guide (official and easy to find), without the need to search on Business France’s website or the legislation’s articles. I insist a little bit as you can see, but I do it on purpose so you can be careful and suspicious, so you don’t automatically believe the 1st answer a member will give you or you won’t lose heart when you will read certain members’ comments… I have received very good advice from this group and had interesting chats as well. It is important not to make any generality. According to the number of different profiles and personalities on this group, it’s 50/50. Very straight answers and not very constructive… or rational comments.
Most of the time, it will relate to information on the allowance, the benefits (globally or regarding one particular company), knowing that the allowance is not negotiable, that the benefits are illegal, except the accommodation but subject to an allowance reduction. Members asking this question forget (or probably just leave out) about the V, in VIE, that I explained previously. No, the VIE is not an employee, he doesn’t earn any wage. Forget about the negotiation about the benefits during the recruitment process. But I talk about it on the Remuneration part.
This said, let’s summary the purpose of this contract and let’s talk about the benefits that it will bring you if you start this adventure (you will now understand I won’t talk about the company perks).