Work as an Au pair

An au pair placement is an arrangement whereby a single person from 18 to 26 years comes to England to study English and live with an English family. In return for living as part of the family he/she will help in the home and receive a weekly allowance. The maximum length of stay is two years. Some nationalities may require an entry visa and you will be advised on this. It would be an advantage if you have previous experience of babysitting or helping to look after children but it is not essential. It is however essential that you enjoy children, that you are a happy, adapatable person, and capable of acting in an adult, responsible way. A basic working knowledge of English is vital to enable you to communicate with the children and understand instructions.

Au Pairs are regulated by the Home Office. The au pair stay is not a contract of employment but considered as a ‘cultural exchange’. Au pairs do not pay National Insurance or tax and no work permit is necessary. Those applicants from non-EEC countries are required to register at a police station within seven days of arrival.

Your stay in England

Long-term placements
Most families want their au pair to be free to come to England for the beginning of the school year, about 5 September, and to stay until the end of June. To give yourself the best chance of being selected for a family you should be as flexible as possible regarding dates. It is normally expected that you will return home for Christmas.

Au pairs normally enroll at a local college to study for the Cambridge exams in English (First Certificate and Proficiency) which are held at the end of June. Your family will advise you on the different possibilities and prices.

Summer holiday au pairs
Most families wanting an au pair in Summer need her during the summer holidays, i.e. mid-July until the end of August. This usually means a six week stay. However, some families ask for an au pair for just a month between mid-June and the end of September. To give yourself the best chance of being selected for a family you should be as flexible as possible regarding dates. Sometimes a family will take you on holiday with them.

The family will write to you before your stay to introduce themselves, explain what help they will need and how much you will be paid per week. You will have a maximum of 25 hours of actual work per week (as well as two evenings babysitting). The current rate £55 per week. In most families the mother works for at least a part of the day, but that is not always the case. Often there is a cleaning lady who comes once a week.

Your application must include the following:

  • the application form
  • two photos which show you smiling and happy (not necessarily an identity photo. It can be one showing you in your family).
  • a character reference or a reference from a family whose children you have looked after.
  • a letter in English introducing yourself to the English family

Price: Registration:............ 75€........... Placement Fee:........165€