Becoming an au pair is the perfect chance to travel, grow, and learn about oneself. As an au pair, you’ll become an extended part of the family and meet some amazing people. The UK is an extremely popular destination for au pairs as it is the best place to learn English. If you wish to know about becoming an au-pair in the UK, this article will cover all the ins and outs. We’ll provide information on both applying for a job as an au pair and hiring someone as an au pair.
What Is an Au-Pair?
An au pair is someone from overseas who lives with and assists a host family. They typically provide childcare and other housework within the residence. In return, the family provides a small monetary allowance for the au pair’s personal use.
There are government restrictions on who can act as an au pair, the length of time they can stay in the country, and the person’s age. People usually become au-pairs to learn about the host country, including the language and culture. The relationship between the au pair and the host family is often viewed as a cultural exchange program.
Employment Classification and Salaries
As the au pair lives with the host family they work for, they are not classified as employees or workers. They are not eligible for paid holidays or a remuneration that meets the National Minimum Wage. Au pairs are regarded as family members of the host family and usually receive “pocket money” salary payments of over £90 per week.
Are you struggling to pay for childcare? Learn about the available help for families.
How To Become an Au-Pair
In the UK, you must meet the following requirements to become an au pair:
- Be aged between 18 and 30 (for those on the Youth Mobility Scheme visa)
- Be unmarried and have no kids of their own
- Have some English knowledge and be seeking to improve further
- Be eligible to make a visa application
- Be able to pay between £244 and £516 for the cost of the visa application (for those on the Youth Mobility Visa)
- Be able to meet travel costs (e.g., plane)
- Be seeking to work for a maximum of 24 months in the UK (for those on the Youth Mobility Visa)
Visa Requirements To Become an Au-Pair
To become an au pair in the UK, you must meet any of the following conditions:
- Come from a European Union country and:
- Have pre-settled/settled status
- Possess a visa under the Youth Mobility Scheme
- Be from the UK or Ireland
The UK government states that people from the UK and Ireland can become au pairs. But technically, this is not possible because people from the UK are already likely to be immersed in the culture and language. People from the UK and Ireland should seek to work as nannies.
Other Visa Types
It is possible to become an au pair with other types of visas alongside the ones listed above. The UK Ancestry Visa is an example of a visa that enables and allows an individual to come to the UK to work as an au pair.
Check the UK government website here for eligibility if you do not hold the above-mentioned visas. Anyone on a visitor visa or coming to the country for less than 6 months cannot work as an au pair.
What Work Can You Do as an Au-Pair?
Au-pairs can do various work around the home, including childcare. Have a look at the picture below to see the type of work au-pairs typically carry out:
You may also want to read our article on how to apply for a childcare grant.
Host Family Requirements
If a family is seeking to use the services of an au pair, they must meet most of the following:
- Provide a letter of invitation including details such as approx. working hours, accommodation, pocket money, and living conditions
- Have a child under the age of 18 who needs to be living in the home
- Be able to provide a separate room for the au pair free of charge
- Offer meals with the host family without any cost
- Be able to obtain childcare and some housework from the au pair (for approx. 30 hours a week)
- Be from a different nationality to the au pair
- Offer the possibility to the au-air to improve their English with the host family
- Allow the au-pair to attend English classes in their spare time at local educational facilities
- Be ok with the au-pair travelling back to their home country to visit family during the course of the year
- Allow the Au Pair to go on holidays with the family and look after the kids
How To Find a Host Family or an Au-Pair
If you wish to become an au pair or find an au pair, you could use the services of an au-pair platform such as aupair.com. The platform connects host families with those wishing to become au pairs.
After registering on the platform, host families can place job adverts allowing potential candidates to apply. The two parties can mutually interview each other via video facilities to check suitability and take steps to reach an employment arrangement.
Additionally, you could seek out the services of The British Au Pair Agencies Association (BAPAA). They are a UK government-recognized association that provides a list of member agencies providing services for au-pairs and host families.
Working as an Au-Pair
Working as an au pair in the UK is extremely rewarding. It enables people to learn about British culture and improve their English while earning pocket money for expenses. For the host family, they can find a person to offer assistance with childcare and other domestic duties. If you want to become an au pair, do consider the UK; it is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world.