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Specific Countries & Au pairs

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Au pairs in United Kingdom

The United Kingdom government runs an Au pair Scheme which provides au pair permits to nationals of the European Union or of one of the following countries: Andorra, Faroe Islands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greenland, San Marino, Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Croatia or Monaco. Nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Croatia, Macedonia, and Turkey need a visa from their British Embassy or Consulate.

Au pair permits are limited to candidates who are unmarried, have no dependents, do not plan to stay in the UK for more than two years as an au pair, and can support and accommodate themselves without help from public funds. They are also required to leave the UK after completing their aupair period. Au pairs may move to another family as long as the new arrangements continue to meet immigration requirements.

Although other European Economic Area nationals are not included in the Au pair Scheme, they are free to take aupair placements in the UK as regular employees.

Au pairs in Canada

Au pair does not really exist in the same format as the rest of the world. The Canadian government has the Live-In Caregiver program, which has broader requirements than the au pair program. Standard qualifications are regulated federally, though conditions of employment are determined at a provincial level. Requirements include a minimum of 6 months of training or 1 year of compatible employment within the last 3 years - though various exceptions and additional stipulations do apply. Such regulations and complicating bureaucratic procedures are the driving force behind the creation of Live-In Caregiver (or Nanny) placement agencies, who act as a mediator between families, caregivers, and the government - providing support for documentation and advice on the program.

Au pairs in Finland

An au pair’s responsibilities also include light housework, totaling six hours a day, five days a week. The aupair has her/his own room, is provided with food and is paid a weekly allowance amounting to at least €252 per month (minimum set by Finnish law). Additionally, the host family will arrange a Finnish language course to help the aupair communicate better with the children and get more out of his or her stay in Finland. Au pairs can stay with their host family for up to one year or negotiate a shorter stay.

Au pairs in United States

The United States au pair program offers qualified young people the opportunity to live and study in the U.S. for one or two years in exchange for providing up to 45 hours of childcare per week. The au pair program was recently granted permission from the U.S. Department of State to offer a second year extension au pair program (6, 9 or 12 months), as well as a summer au pair program.

At the same time, the au pairs are required to complete an educational component of six semester hours of academic credit or its equivalent. At the end of one year, au pairs generally return to their home country, unless they and their host families choose to extend their stay for a further 6, 9 or 12 months. Alternatively, the au pair can choose to extend her period in the US with a different family. Most au pairs choose a family in a different part of the country, allowing them to have a different experience.

The rules of the au pair program in the US are: au pairs are provided a private bedroom, meals, remuneration tied to the minimum wage ($176.85 per week, rising to $195.75 on 24 July 2009), 1½ days off weekly plus a full weekend off each month, two weeks' paid vacation and the first $500 toward the costs of required course work to be completed at an accredited institution of higher education in order to satisfy the requirements of the educational component of the program. Au pairs are not to work more than 10 hours per day or 45 hours per week, and are not to serve as general housekeepers or assume responsibility for household management.

The US EduCare Au Pair Program is also available for families with school-age children. In this program, the au pair works a lower number of hours (not more than 10 hours a day and not more than 30 hours a week) for a weekly minimum wage of $132.64 (raising to $146.81 on 24 July 2009 in accordance with the federal minimum wage increases). The family pays $1000 in educational expenses, and the aupair is required to complete 12 hours of academic credit.

Au pairs placed with families who have children under two years old must have at least 200 hours of child care experience with infants under two. Au pairs may only be placed in a family with an infant under three months old if a parent or other adult caregiver is also home and fully responsible for the infant.

The Au pair Program is administered by the US Department of State. Participating families and au pairs must work with one of the currently 12 approved agencies. Au pairs enter the United States on a J-1 visa.


Wikipedia, May 2009

List of EEA Countries (last updated 2010):

Czech Republic
Slovak Republic
United Kingdom
Liechtenstein *
Norway *
Switzerland **

* These countries are in the EEA, but are not members of the European Union
** Switzerland is not in the EEA but an international treaty means that from 1 June 2002 Swiss nationals have a similar right to live in the UK as EEA nationals.

Nationals of Romania and Bulgaria

Do NOT need a visa but they DO need an accession worker card from the UK Border Agency before taking up an au pair placement. They need to meet traditional au pair requirements regarding marital status (single) age (17-27) and working hours (25).

Other Worldwide - with the introduction of Tier 5* Youth Mobility Scheme

The UK au pair scheme now comes under Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme and only nationals from the following countries are eligible to apply for visas under the scheme:

New Zealand

*Click here for Tier 5 information on the Home Office website

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Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 19:14  

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