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The French International Postgraduate Internship Program (V.I.E) was established by the Law of March 14th, 2OOO and the decrees for its implementation on November 3Oth 2OOO. This program aims to reinforce the international development of French companies while offering dynamic young graduates an opportunity to benefit from a formative experience abroad.
UBIFRANCE, the French agency for international business development, is appointed by the French Ministry of Foreign Trade to manage the V.I.E Program.
What is the V.I.E program?
The V.I.E Program enables French companies to send a young person between 18 and 28 years of age on an assignment abroad for a flexible period of 6 to 24 months, which can be renewed once within the 24 month period*.
It is open to young French candidates, of all educational backgrounds, who have fulfilled their national service obligations, as well as to young people from the European Economic Area meeting the same conditions.
It appeals to strongly motivated young people: recent graduates, often with some work experience or wishing to take a ‘gap year’ from college.
V.I.Es coming to the U.S. must be eligible for a J-1 visa in the ‘intern’ or ‘trainee‘ category. The J-1 visa must be used for eligible training or internship programs only and not for ‘work‘. The duration of the assignment is limited to 12 or 18 months according to the J-1 visa delivered to the candidate.
What is the V.I.E status?
The V.I.E candidate has a ‘public status‘. He/she comes to the U.S. under the protection of the French Embassy, and has no contractual link with the company in France benefiting from the assignment.
He/she receives a fixed living allowance (paid by UBIFRANCE in Euros into a bank account in France) which varies according to the U.S. city in which the assignment is carried out, and is not subject to taxes in France. The V.I.E candidate benefits from comprehensive medical insurance contracted for the company by UBIFRANCE, and does not require pension contribution during the assignment period under the basic French national pension system.
Which companies can benefit from the V.I.E?
Which type of assignment?
The assignments offered to the candidates are diverse and depend on the companies’ needs: market research, technical support to local teams, administrative and sales assistance, etc.
How much will a V.I.E cost you?
UBIFRANCE charges the cost of the V.I.E to the French company that is not required to pay taxes in France. Small and medium size companies (SMEs) might benefit from regional grants. The V.I.E candidate is not included in the company‘s workforce and is not paid directly by the U.S. hosting company.
For tax reasons, UBIFRANCE does not recommend that French companies bill the cost of the V.I.E to the U.S. host company.
The company in France is responsible for the following costs:
How does the V.I.E program work in the U.S.?
Management of the program: the administrative and legal aspects of the V.I.E are handled by UBIFRANCE. Companies can then focus on their operational activities.
The visa procedure is handled by the French-American Chamber of Commerce, New York Chapter, which is authorized by the U.S. State Department to sponsor eligible Interns and Trainees on a J-1 visa.
Length of assignment: from 6 to 12 or 18 months according to the type of J-1 visa issued. It can be extended once within the 12 or 18 month period limit.
The assignment must be continuous and is not transferable to a different host company.
Paid leave: 2.5 vacation days per month worked, to be taken either staggered or at the end of the assignment, for assignment periods not exceeding 12 months.
Missions in France: the V.I.E can spend up to 165 days per 12 month assignment in France*, while benefiting from the same fiscal and social benefit conditions as during time spent in the U.S. This time can be used to train the candidate before joining the local host company, to liaise with the headquarters in France during the assignment or to carry out reporting missions, etc.
Where can you find the right candidate to match your needs?
UBIFRANCE promotes the V.I.E through institutions for higher education (Business & Engineering Schools, Universities, etc.) and youth career orientation centers and maintains a database of candidates. More than 5O,OOO candidates with high-level profiles are currently registered and ready to meet specific demands. Companies can select resumes of candidates at www.ubifrance.fr, or post assignment offers directly on the website. Upon request, UBIFRANCE can also assist companies in finding specific profiles.
How do you apply for a V.I.E?
In the U.S.: The company is a:
In France: The company completes an approval request ‘demande d‘agrément‘ as well as a volunteer assignment application form on www.ubifrance.fr. The approval entitles the company to apply for an unlimited number of V.I.Es*. Companies already approved can download their applications online through their V.I.E customer space.
Contact in the U.S.
For more information about the VIE program, please contact Sydney Fleurance, VIE Program Department, BUSINESS FRANCE at (212) 400-2172 or sydney.fleurance(at)businessfrance.fr .
For more information about VIE and J-1 visa regulations:
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