An au pair job can be a valuable way to gain work experience within England, and also helps to develop your broader employability. Being an au pair is distinct from being a nanny, in the sense that you’re not expected to work fulltime as part of the job. Instead, you can take on a mix of light childcare and housework in exchange for room and board for about 18 to 24 months. When getting a job working in England, it’s important to look at some of the basic requirements for the job, as well as how to negotiate immigration documents, what the role expects of you, and some other factors that will affect your stay. These areas are expanded upon below:
1 – Basic Requirements
If a national of an EU country, you need to be aged 18-30 to qualify for an au pair visa. Au pairs can be men or women, but either way, you’re not allowed to be married or have children. You should also have around £1,000 in place to cover travel and settling costs, although once you are in a family home, you will receive accommodation and a small salary of about £30 to £50 a week.
Visas usually last for about 18-24 months, or are renewed every 6. Bulgarian and Romanian visas have tighter restrictions, due to the countries’ relatively recent entry into the EU. When coming from outside the EU, you will need to have the same basic qualifications, but with the expectation of a shorter visa stay and renewal time. Some au pair schemes are covered by a Youth Mobility Visa, and by a UK Ancestry Visa.
2 – Documents and Entry
To enter England and the UK, your EU passport should be in date, and should ideally be renewed before you travel. Outside the EU, you will need to have evidence of a Youth Mobility or UK Ancestry visa, as well as a contract with an employment family that acts as sponsorship for travel. In most cases, you will need to go through a registered au pair agency, which will help you with your application and passport. In some cases, a student visa can be used, which means registering part time on an English language course during your au pair duties. A medical report and a police check also need to be carried out before immigration.
3 – What Will the Work Involve
The workload of an au pair should be relatively light, and should work out to about 25 hours a week of looking after children, and helping out with the housework and cooking. Again, the work shouldn’t be too strenuous, as you are there to learn and build experience, rather than work all the time. About £55 a week is reasonable as a salary, given that lodging is provided by a host family.
4 – Other Tips
A driving license can make a big difference to your application, as it’ll allow you to help out with extra chores like picking up and dropping off children. Once in the UK, you should register with a local GP to receive NHS treatment. In terms of the contract you’ll sign with a host family, always read through everything carefully, and make sure that they aren’t making any unrealistic promises. A host family should also arrange to make income tax payments on your behalf, which will be deducted if you earn over a certain amount per week.
Sebastian is currently working with Au Pairs in Britain. If you’re looking to find a job working as an Au Pair make sure you visit their website.