The plight of international corporate volunteers in the United States in the face of inflation and...

The plight of international corporate volunteers in the United States in the face of inflation and…

With inflation and the exchange rate, US-based VIE companies are struggling to make ends meet, with some leaving their jobs. Faced with this situation, Business France has created exceptional help.

“I started Corporate International Volunteering (VIE) at the beginning of April 2022, and was supposed to finish it in September 2023… and I will stop it at the end of October,” summarizes Hugo*, 28, in Detroit (Michigan).

Like him, many volunteers living in the United States have been asking themselves the question for a few months now Inflation rate reached 9.1% in one year in June – For the first time since 1981. With The decline of the euro against the dollar (As of August 3, 1 EUR equals $1.01), while VIEs are compensated in EUR, Much of their purchasing power is gone.

On paper, VIE allows, for those between the ages of 18 and 28, to Going to work abroad for 6 to 24 months in a company, at an employment rate From 92%. The non-taxable allowance is paid in euros with a variable portion by country or city of exercise”, depending on the local standard of living. To cover the volunteer’s subsistence, equipment and housing needs.defines Business France.

In the United States, there are six different suits. The amount is recalculated every quarter “based on two criteria: inflation and the exchange rate”says Christophe Monnier, VIE Program Director at Business France. It is not possible to resign from VIE, except in specific cases, such as in the case of “mutual agreement” on the part of VIE and the company.

‘We all attacked our savings’

“I didn’t need to negotiate much because another VIE left three weeks ago,” says Hugo Who Resigns primarily for financial reasons. He gets the lowest “Other Cities” compensation of $2,600 “Insufficient for the cost of living” with inflation and A loss in one month of $ 250 on his salary at the exchange rate.

At VIE in Marketing in New York, Elliott made 3,500 euros, or about $4,000 when he arrived. He’s making $3,500 today. “My rent was $1,750 in a suburban condo. It grew to 2500 in six months! “ Witness. I hit almost zero at the end of the month. We all attacked our savings.”

In total, 144 VIEs in the US gathered in a dedicated WhatsApp group and each wrote an email to Business France describing their situation. Manon*, 23, also decided to leave her life, which began on May 1. “I hope to leave in early November. I’m in Bedford, next door to Boston[Massachusetts]so I get an allowance for ‘Other Cities’ but it’s stupid because it’s like we live in the inner suburbs of Paris,” she stings. After the restricted expenses, “there should be $400 left,” she calculates. “The smallest outing costs $50 to $100… This salary would be good in France but not to live here where everything is four times more expensive. “

Some situations are even less viable: she finds another volunteer, having withdrawn her “stay” expenses (rent, food, phone, internet, transfer from French to American account, transportation and student loan), with …13 dollars in the pocket. “We can live, eat, drive and work, but that’s it,” summarizes Léa, 27, at VIE in Miami (Florida) who is also paying off a 700-euro student loan. “It annoys me a little bit because I want to spend my weekends, go to restaurants, but If I choose one thing, I have to get rid of everything else.”

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The assistance is effective as of August 1

Urgently, a temporary increase in the company’s housing compensation was decided upon. It is provided in scripts but is usually optional.

The amount is set at 300 euros per month for the United States and 150 euros for Canada. “We wanted it to be fast so it’s the same amount no matter what city. The measure will apply from August 1 to the end of 2022.identifies the VIE Program Director who ensures that this “erases most of the unfavorable influence of youth”.

This is indeed, but it is far from making up for the loss of the past few months“Judge Elliot. We were really pleasantly surprised that they did something,” Hugo feels. But it would take more compensation for me to survive.

On her part, Leah, “doesn’t plan to leave” because I “dreamed of this commute.” She tries to earn extra money but struggles with the law because VIE doesn’t allow working side by side. “I got into babysitting apps.”captivates a young woman who thinks about work “in her spare time, on weekends and evenings.”

Gradual catch-up and new scales in 2023?

In the face of these criticisms, Business France wants to be reassured. “If there is a small gap for some young people, it will be corrected in October,” says Christophe Monnier. By the end of 2022, “the automatic adjustment of the allowance will take into account inflation and exchange rate differences, thus There will be a gradual catch-up.”

In addition, since May, Business France has been doing substantive work with the Ministries of Economy and Foreign Affairs to take into account the consequences of inflation “in all geographical areas at the global level”. “So, We do not rule out a comprehensive reform of 2023‘ continues the VIE Program Director.

Christophe Meunier understands, however, that the device cannot completely erase the problems of increasing rents, as in the case of Elliott. In this case, either the young man “changes the place of residence”, or Business France “encourages them to ask the company to take charge of their accommodation. If negotiations do not progress, we try to act as mediators.”

And while inflation affects the entire world, actions can also be taken outside the Eurozone after “some spikes” from other countries.

*Names changed

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