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All you need to know about the International Corporate Volunteering (ICV)

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International Corporate Volunteering is one of the simplest and most popular ways for graduates to live a professional experience abroad. This is a temporary job lasting from a few months to several years, in a French company abroad under certain conditions. What is the ICV and who can do it? What are its advantages? Discover what you need to know about the ICV with The American Business School of Paris: status, duration, profiles, skills, business sectors, countries, allowances, etc.

ICV: what is it and who can apply?

The International Corporate Volunteering is a civic service carried out in a company which can be linked to a technical, scientific, economic mission or to an environmental, humanitarian and cultural action. ICV missions can be carried out in a French company abroad, a foreign company having a partnership with a French company, or a foreign organization engaged in a cooperation with France.

The volunteers must seek their own missions and have to meet the following conditions:

  • Be between 18 and 28 years of age on the date of registration,
  • Be a French citizen or a national of an European Economic Area country,
  • Have fully complied with any national service obligations in their countries of origin,
  • Meet certain physical conditions (if they are required in host organizations),
  • Enjoy all civil rights, including the right to vote.

Employees in the public or private sector are required to leave their positions. Indeed, it is not possible to carry out an International Corporate Volunteering and a remunerated activity at the same time. Only the production of artistic, literary and scientific works is authorized. Teaching activities are also accepted, with the agreement of the host company. Moreover, each country of destination may require other conditions of eligibility such as professional experience, diploma and knowledge of the official language.

Principle and conditions of the international corporate volunteering

The International Corporate Volunteering is a mission on behalf of a French company for a period of 6 to 24 months, renewable once within a limit of two years. Renewal applications are scheduled to be sent to the managing organization 1 to 3 months before the end of the mission. The ICV can be carried out in any country, involve any type of mission, and sectors are very diverse (engineering, construction, law, accounting, management control, marketing, finance, human resources, tourism, etc.). Indeed, some skills are in greater demand than others and graduates with dual training profiles (commercial, technical) are in demand on the job market. When applying, you should not forget to include foreign languages on your CV so that you may stand out from the other volunteers, for some destinations.

The intern has a public status, placed under the aegis of the French Embassy abroad. Besides, nearly 50% of International Corporate Volunteering takes place in Europe. Other destinations are available, notably in North America and Asia, which are the second and third main hosts for volunteers.

What are the advantages of the ICV?

The ICV isn’t a contract of employment but a voluntary service. The allowances for these missions are set annually by decree and vary from one country to another (between € 1,100 and € 2,900 net per month). Indeed, allowances are tax-exempt and include a variable part to cover the additional costs related to the standard of living of each country. The financial aspect is not the only advantage of the ICV, as it also represents a breeding ground for young graduates interested in studying abroad to find a first job.

Nowadays, 10,000 companies in 130 countries are partners of the ICV and offer a wide range of offers of all kinds. Therefore, the volunteer may look for the mission that fits his profile among the offers available on Civiweb.com, the official site of the organization that promotes the ICV. Volunteers can also get in contact with companies themselves and present their project to them. These companies benefit from several advantages such as multiple financial aids.

In addition, the ICV represents an opportunity for volunteers to improve their language skills in the country of their choice. The company at which the ICV is carried out covers all transportation costs of the volunteer and health insurance cost him nothing. In addition, the host organization may request a health examination, when signing the contract. This health examination is covered by “la Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM)”.

ICV for a first job abroad, but what’s next?

9 out of 10 volunteers are directly hired after their ICV contract, according to a study conducted in 2018 by Edhec New Talent Center and Business France. In fact, the ICV mainly involves higher education students from top schools who obtain 92% of the contracts, at the end of their studies (56%) or after a work experience (39%), according to the same study. Those graduates are already highly employable and seek to acquire not only technical skills in their fields but also to develop soft skills, to work with intercultural teams, to master foreign languages and to be immersed in the culture of the host country.

Finally, this experience is very rewarding for volunteers. However, attention should be paid to the following:

  • Not all ICV lead to long-term employment. Some companies change volunteers after the end of their assignment.
  • It can be difficult to shift from an ICV contract to an expatriate contract. Most opportunities are in a local contract with the standards of the host country.
  • It is not always easy in some countries (such as the United States) to transfer from an ICV visa to a regular work visa. This requires in some cases to leave the territory for a period of time set by legislation.
  • Volunteers who decide to return to France are not entitled to unemployment benefits, as the ICV is not an employment contract.

Are you interested in a work experience abroad? To get ready for your ICV, The American Business School of Paris offers training programs based on the American system with an international focus.