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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.7 Cross-border mobility in employment, entrepreneurship and vocational opportunities

Last update: 28 November 2023
On this page
  1. Programmes and schemes for cross-border mobility
  2. Legal framework

3.7 Cross-border mobility in employment, entrepreneurship and vocational opportunities

LAST MODIFIED ON: 01/12/2020 - 16:38

On this page
  1. Programmes and schemes for cross-border mobility
  2. Legal framework

Programmes and schemes for cross-border mobility


France’s young people can take advantage of programmes enabling them to work abroad. There are a number of institutional bodies to advise them on programmes and provide them with guidance in their search for employment abroad. They include:

  • Pôle Emploi Internationalwhich lists international job offers;
  • The “Découvrir le Monde” (Discover the World) platform, run by the Ministry for Youth, lists opportunities for young people to go abroad;
  • The Eures platform for European mobility.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has offered assistance in employment research by means of the consular committees for employment and vocational training or through its “general delegation for foreign civil servants (DFI), who support and promote the French presence in international organisations (IO)” department by circulating job advertisements.

There is a varied range of professional mobility programmes, including professional volunteering, traineeships abroad and youth exchange schemes resulting from bilateral agreements with partner countries. The main public schemes are:

  • The VPT – Working holiday visa (Vacances-Permis-Travail) programme, which provides young French people 18-30 y/o with the opportunity to leave France for a year to get to know and work in another country via a simplified visa; France has signed agreements to this end with Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Argentina.
  • The OFQJ – Franco-Québécois Youth Office (See Chapter 2), which offers several mobility programmes to Quebec in a variety of professional fields (including the economic, cultural, IT and social sectors). Possibilities include carrying out a traineeship, taking a temporary job or fulfilling a training mission, bearing in particular on entrepreneurship. Young people involved must be between 18 and 35 y/o and their projects must have a professional objective of some kind.
  • The OFAJ – Franco-German Youth Office ( See Chapter 2), which provides grants to young people from 16 to 30 y/o for practical placements carried out in Germany in the context of an apprenticeship or vocational training programme.The OFAJ also provides grants for traineeships or missions in a twin city or region in Germany, in a German company, institution or government agency. The Praxes programme also enables French and German young people from 18 to 30 y/o to carry out a one- to six-month placement independently of their (general, vocational or higher education) training or professional activity. It is designed above all for young people wishing to make a career change.
  • Students, young workers and apprentices can take advantage of the Erasmus+” programme to develop new professional skills (proficiency in languages) during placements in Europe.
  • International Administrative Volunteering  (See Chapter 2) is intended for young people 18-28 y/o interested in working for government departments abroad.
  • International Business Volunteering  enables young people to carry out a mission at a French company abroad.




Legal framework


The Ministry of National Education has issued a guide to traineeships abroad, which details how traineeships and vocational training are carried out in other countries.


Modalities for carrying out traineeships abroad may be governed by French legislation or by the laws of the countries in which they take place, in particular as regards conditions for entry and residence in the country, the social protection system, possible payment, and trainees’ specific rights and obligations.

In order for students to benefit from the application of French law, educational institutions are requested, under the terms of Article L.124-19 of the Education Code, to propose to host bodies abroad that they apply the standard French traineeship convention. Traineeships abroad are systematically subject to prior exchanges between students’ educational institutions and host bodies, to negotiate and define the provisions governing them, which may be those of French or local regulations.

As concerns social protection, if the traineeship is carried out in a European Union or European Economic Area Member State, students benefit from social cover with regard to health insurance (students’ scheme, beneficiary of parents’ health insurance). They must also obtain a European health insurance card.



In the case of a placement in Europe, the terms of a placement agreement, known as a “mission contract” are defined by Article R. 117-5-1-1 of the Labour Code, which allows an apprentice to carry out a training period at a company in a European Union Member State other than the signatory of the apprenticeship contract. As regards social protection, apprentices are obligatorily considered to be seconded employees. In addition to the European health insurance card, any company employing an apprentice should therefore be asked to obtain a secondment certificate.


Foreign trainees in France

European and non-European foreign students carrying out traineeships in France benefit from the same French regulations governing placements (tripartite convention, compensation, duration, etc.). Foreign students from the European Union can come to France in the context of Erasmus+ and non-European students may obtain a temporary residence permit marked “Trainee” (carte de séjour temporaire mention stagiaire). In addition, foreign students who have graduated from a French higher educational institution with a licence (Bachelor’s degree) or equivalent may obtain authorisation for a 12-month stay if they undertake to stay in France throughout that time.