The Relationship With Business France
Business France drip-feed the information and I think this is a shame. If you read the section “Expatriation contract”, I explain my mistake with the medical certificate. You can’t anticipate anything! And when you ask questions, the answers from Business France are confused. But I have to admit they respond quickly.
The best source of information stays the Facebook group where the previous and current VIEs can give you a feedback and bring accurate information that you can’t find anywhere else.
I didn’t have any particular specificities regarding my departure so I didn’t have to contact them very often. But the few interactions I had with them were not satisfying.
During the contract
There is two types of relations you can have with Business France during your mission: with the HQ in Paris/Marseille or with your local point of contact.
With the HQ:
I had stormy discussions with the HQ whose position was not surprising but still disappointing. During my induction, and facing growing expenses and the communication failure between my line manager in the UK and the company’s HQ in France, I contacted Business France to ask for their support. I was in a delicate situation and as the communication was on a standby inside the company, I wanted Business France to be an intermediary and to push the company’s HQ to find a process and reimburse my expenses. Actually, Business France sells its services as an intermediary and pretends to have the power to refuse a VIE or to give sanctions to an employer which doesn’t respect the rules. Bullshit. They didn’t lift a finger. I had to wait the situation to be unlocked… So useless.
As they didn’t want to do anything and were afraid of the employer, I requested an advance on my allowances that they will cut after on the next transfers, just the time for me to obtain the reimbursement of my expenses. They also refused! So they agreed to leave me in a very difficult situation…
I have seen many testimonies from VIEs and previous VIEs talking about the lack of involvement of Business France in conflicts between the VIE and the employer.
A passive attitude that can bring the following question: is the VIE a simple transaction between Business France and companies? Shall I dare to say a merchandise… I will collect your papers in 4 hours (or send it by owl if you want to make it classy).
Regarding the renewal, however, the company was really late according to the Business France process to confirm it. But I can confirm Business France departments were very reactive to catch up this delay and proceed to my renewal before the end of my initial contract.
With the local point of contact:
In my situation, the entity was in London. The office is only here to guide you in your local life. The person in charge of the VIEs helped me a lot with the administrative procedures.
The office couldn’t help me with my financial issues and directly headed towards the HQ, explaining that the local office couldn’t make this kind of decision.
However, the relationship with the local entity were always nice and efficient. Furthermore, the department is very reactive. You send an email in the morning and can be sure to have an answer in the afternoon. If you call, you won’t wait an hour on the phone and will talk to an agent very quickly.