Nowadays, you don’t have to be a techie or a nurse to live your American dream. A lot of things can help you to go to the USA, even the time that you spent babysitting your younger sister.
Yes, we are talking about the new trend in India and in the whole world: Au Pair. An au pair program allowes young people to live and study in America, while they taking care of the children of the host family, which they stay with.
About 10 years ago, au pairs are only recruited from western europe. But today, the government licensed au pair agencies from USA are bringing au pairs to America from more than 60 countries.
Why is au pair happening? –The world is globalized.
For amerian parents, au pair brings their kids an international view, within different language, different culture. Such expectation has trigerred a much bigger demand on au pairs from different countries, especially in India.
For those au pairs from India, they get to know about the american lifestyle and gain great experience abroad. Sounds great for both personal life and resume, doesn’t it?
Now, let’s dive in to the topic.
Au Pair Defintion
What is an au pair? An au pair is a young person (usually between 18 & 28), who is willing to live abroad with a native family and improve their language or other skills (for example studying is mandatory in America). According to a community counsellor who helps the young visitors settle in from America, a lot of au pairs enroll in courses like psychology, pre-nursing and IT. At the same time, au pairs shall take care of the family children and do some relevant light housework, in exchange of that, the family offers them board and lodging, weekly or monthly “pocketmoney”, and sometimes include them in trips or contribute to their educational expenses.
Knowing more about Au Pair definition
Au Pair Duties
Speaking of “take care of the family children and do some relevant light housework”, you must be curious, what exactly does an au pair need to do?
Actually, the tasks of an au pair is depending on the needs of the host family. Hence they could be very different from each other. That’s why it is very important for both parties to agree on those terms – Video chat with your future host family, ask about what they need, think of if you can accept, discuss! And the very important thing after that is: writing it down into your au pair conract, to make the agreements official.
Nevertheless, there are some general “do” and “not do” for the au pairs to consider, those are the tasks that an au pair could do, and those an au pair should not be asked to do.
Check this page for more detailed information: http://www.aupair.net/duties/
Au Pair VS Nanny
In the context of this program, an important point should be respected by both parties, that an au pair is not a full time nanny. In french, “au pair” means “on par” or “equal to”, which means that the program bases on an equal term and au pair shall only help with housework which is relevant to childcare.
Difference between au pair & nanny? See: https://www.aupair.com/en/p-nanny.php
Au Pair Program: Period – Working Hours – Holiday – Salary
As in au pair program in America, au pairs should apply for a J-1 visa and are allowed to stay for 12 months (could be extended). An au pair is not allowed to work more than 45 hours a week and not more than 10 hours a day. They get to rest at least 1 and a half day a week and have 2 weeks of paid holiday for a 12 month period. The minimum “wage” is 195 dollars per week.
The table below could show you some basics of au pair programs in different countries:
|Max. Period||Working Hours||Holiday||Salary (week)|
|Australia||12 months||25 – 35 h / week||2 weeks / 6 months||AUS $ 150 – 230|
|Canada||12 months||25 – 30 h / week||2 weeks / 6 months||200 CAD|
|France||12 months||max. 30 h / week||1 week / 6 months||70€|
|Germany||12 months||max. 30 h / week||2 weeks / 6 months||65€|
|Spain||12 months||max. 30 h / week||2 weeks / 6 months||55 – 70€|
|UK||24 months||30 – 35 h / week||2 weeks / 6 months||55 – 75 GBP|
|USA||24 months||max. 45 h / week||1 week / 6 months||U.S.$ 195|
- As you can see, most of the au pair programs last 1 year and some of them could be extended for a longer period. And for some countries, there’s a minimum duration limit, so you should check the official au pair program of your target country before everything and see if your plan fits.
- Working hours could be very different in each country, but there’s always a maximum working hours limit and a minimum resting time. Basically, au pairs have at least 1 to 2 days free per week.
- “Holiday” means paid holiday, you can plan your own trip. But sometimes, the family would invite you to join their holiday, in this case, you should agree before if this counts as your time off or you are going to work during this time.
- Salary in an au pair case is usually called “pocketmoney”. The amount is different from country to country. In addition to this basic payment, in some country, it is obligational for the host family parents to make contribution to other subjects for the au pair, such as insurance or education expenses. But salary and making money is never the main purpose of an au pair, it’s about culture exchange.
If you need information for au pair program for a specific country, come and see: https://www.aupair.com/en/p-au-pair-programs.php
Do you have a first impression of the program? Are you already interested? Let’s get to know more about:
How to become an au pair?
Generally, there are 2 different ways to do it.
- Find a local full-service agency in your country. A full-service agency helps you with every phase of the process from finding you a family to helping you to apply for a visa. Every full-service agency do this a little differently, but the general idea is: they take care of it. It is going to be easy, but of course, it costs a lot.
- Use an online agency such as AuPair.com (www.aupair.com). Online agencies are usually online matching agencies for both au pairs and host families. Using an online agency, you can become an au pair by following steps:
- Register on the website and search for the ideal host family
- Send the matching families messages and set up video calls, get to know more and more about each other
- Once finding the perfect match, arrange an au pair contract together and sign it
- If a visa is needed to entering the target country, apply for the visa yourself in advance, the host family shall certainlly help by this process (providing signed contract, invitation letter or work/residence permit etc. if needed)
- After the visa is issued, set a date of the arrival with the host family and then finally meet up
This way, there’s a lot more work to do yourself, but it’s cheaper, and you can be more active by finding the ideal match.
More information about how to find a host family on AuPair.com see: https://www.aupair.com/en/p-au-pair-info.php
Actually, both ways are great, you should go with the one that suits you better.
*However, if it’s about being an au pair in America, the situation is a little different. Every au pair who wants to go to America needs to apply for a J-1 Visa, and has to do so through a National American Au Pair Agency (a full-service agency).
It means that you have to work with a full-service agency anyway, however, you can still use an online agency to find your ideal host family. And after you find your ideal host family, you can ask about their local agency in America and find a partner agency in your country.
Have you noticed already? There’s a really important point hiding in the process we talked about above, and that is:
Au Pair Contract!
First thing first: it is highly recommended that both Host Family and Au Pair sign the Au Pair contract before the au pair stay begins!
Once you’ve found your ideal host family, you guys should always keep in touch, through e-mails, phone calls, video chatting etc. And while talking to each other, you should discuss about all the important terms of the stay and the conract.
Remember to check the official au pair program terms of the host country.
In this website you can find some general terms which a contract must contain: https://www.aupair.com/en/p-contract.php
As well as a standard au pair contract: https://www.aupair.com/docs/AuPair_com-placement-contract.pdf
Another thing you should worry about is:
Au Pair Visa!
If you are coming from India, like citizens of most countries, you need to apply for a visa in order to become an au pair.
Tips for visa:
- Before you apply, you should:
- Have found a host family;
- Check the Foreign affairs website/embassy website for visa information;
- Call the embassy to consult, if there’s any thing unclear.
- While applying you should bring every required documents and handle them in order.
- After the visa is issued and the you are in the host country, you should mind the specific requirements of the visa. For example, some visa requires you to register at the local immigration office within several days after arrival; some requires you to study.
Visa for different countries have different riquirements, so you should go check each official website.
And after all, being an au pair is being far away from home, so another thing you must get:
Au Pair Insurance!
Actually, insurance issues should be mentioned in the official au pair program and visa requirements. There are usually standard requests in this area, you either need to register into a national healthcare system or buy a private healthcare insurance youself. And in some countries, the host family need to bear this cost.
So in general, there’s always a local insurance covering the situations of hospitalization, medical treatment, accident etc. But it’s still recommanded to buy a travel insurance.
Wow didn’t we went through a lot, now you must be wondering, all these this and that:
How much does it cost to become an au pair?
First of all, it depends greatly on your choice between a full-service agency and an online agency.
Second of all, you have to pay for the travel cost, that’s your flight ticket and/or train ticket. However, some host families are willing to bear this cost with you or make compensations. So you should ask your future host family if they would do so.
Visa aplication and insurance bring you expenses too.
In addition, you might want to buy some presents for the host family.
Well if you are still a student or tied up by something and don’t have that much of time, there’s also something for you to try out, see:
Summer Au Pair!
Being an au pair in the summer vacation is a great opportunity, just the right time to get to know a city or a country, and also learn something!
There are actual needs in this time, because the children are not going to school during summer vacation and the parents can’t just leave them at home alone. So for those parents, inviting an au pair to the house is a brilliant choice, not only because the au pair can take care of the children, they can also learn from each other during this time!
Check this page for more information! https://www.aupair.com/en/p-summer.php
As we mentioned, there’re some countries having a minimum period limit for au pair program, but the others, they don’t. So you should check the official au pair programs before you decide your target countries.
In addition, if you need a visa for those countries, you should start planing earlier, cause the process of “find a family-prepare the required documents-get the visa” costs time.
Now, register soon and find a family soon! https://www.aupair.com/
Au Pair Tips
If you are ready, here are some useful tips for you:
- Au Pair Experiences: what do the “real” au pairs say?
- Au Pair Departure and Flight
- Au Pair Language Skills: some countries requires that the au pair needs to have an official certificate to prove their language skills.
- Au Pair Packing List
- Au Pair Scams: be cautious! And see some examples.
- Au Pair Driving Licence: do we need a driving licence?
- Au Pair homesickness: how can we fight it?
- com Profile: how to create a great, attractive profile?
Au Pair Questions
Do you still have questions or concerns?