Introduction

This document will explain many of the common need-to-know things about being an au pair and the procedures involved in finding a host family.
On this website you will find placements for the following :

  • au pair
  • au pair +
  • mothers help
  • housekeeper
  • carers

If you are coming as a couple please make this obvious in your profile.
If this page doesn't answer your question, get in touch with us using our contact page and we'll be glad to help.
Whilst you are waiting for a placement it is always useful to pass your driving licence, prepare yourself with experience with children and brush up your english. This will help you a great deal in finding a placement. Don’t forget you are in competition with some very good applicants.
Please always add a photo to your profile : applicants who include a photo are 30%more luckily to find a placement than the one who do not.
Make sure that all your contact details are accurate and that you can be easily contacted.

Procedures

As an au pair, this is the procedures we use to provide you with your ideal host Family during your visit to the UK.

  1. Browse the list of available Families on our website using the search filters to narrow down the list to Families you would be most interested in.
  2. Click the "Contact This Family" link on a Family's Profile page to send them a message that you are interested in their family. The family can then view your profile online and if they are interested they may get in contact with you.
  3. When a Family contacts you they may want to ask you a number of questions about your childcare experience and your other abilities. It will help to have answers prepared for the most common questions, we can help you with this.
  4. Families will also ask for your au pair File, which is a collection of documents that you need to prepare. You should send a copy of all of these directly to the family when they contact you to help them make a decision.
  5. These must be written in English, with clear contact details for the people in the references. Families will not employ you if you do not have this file. These documents should be zipped in an email and sent to the families on their request.
    1. A Dear Family Letter (see next section)
    2. 2 References
      • A Childcare Reference
      • A Character Reference
    3. A photocopy of your passeport with photo or id card
    4. A Letter from your GP saying that you are fit and well
    5. A criminal record check (it is compulsory in the UK to have one when you look after children)
  6. Because your Profile is also on the website we will introduce any families who specifically have expressed interest in you
  7. If you accept a placement with a Family, they will arrange with you when and where to pick you up when you arrive in England. It is up to you to pay for your travelling to the UK.
  8. We will give you support throughout the placement with advice and help you will need to email us.

Dear Family Letter

It is part of your au pair File that you should submit a "Dear Family Letter" to your prospective host family. Don't forget it is very important that your letter is clear with plenty of information because the prospective families will recruit their au pair on view of the file only and there is plenty of competition.

For help, please review the list of things you should include in your letter below

What To Include...
  • Your Name, Age and Country of Origin
  • Where you live
  • Number of brothers and sisters and their ages
  • Your family background
  • Your education
  • Whether you smoke or not
  • If you like/dislike animals
  • If you are ready to drive in the UK or not

You should describe your personality as you see yourself and how your friends perceive you. Describe in details your childcare experience. The reasons why you want to come to the UK to be an au pair.

Studying

The primary purpose of an au pair placement in the UK is to allow single people to learn English, by living with an English speaking family. If your english is fluent you could enrol in other courses. You might not want to study but work instead if you are from the EEC. However, you should always give your host family first refusal on your time (work for them first).

Normally au pairs want to study at a local college for a qualification. You will need to enrol in person as soon as you can after arriving. You will have to pay the fees in advance and will normally be tested to decide which class is best suited to their level of English. Some families provide assistance with these fees as it is difficult for a Au Pair to pay in advance upon their arrival.

Before you arrive, ask the family about...
  1. English courses held in their your area
  2. The approximate costs involved

Cars and Driving

Make sure your driving licence will be valid to drive in the UK

The family may assess your driving ability before you drive on your own. Some families pay for some driving lessons in their car as practice for their au pair and as a means of assessing their ability.

Applicants who can drive in the UK are hugely sought after by UK families.

Be clear about any restrictions on the use of the car:
  • Can you use it in your free time?
  • Is it only for use when working for the family?
  • Do you have to provide receipts or get a weekly allowance for petrol?
  • Are you allowed to give lifts to friends?
  • Are you responsible for cleaning it?

What are the differences between an au pair / au pair+ and a nanny?

Au Pair (Live In)
  • Works a maximum of 25 hours a week and a maximum of 2 evenings baby-sitting for a minimum of £ 65 per week
  • Family gives full board, own room and two consecutive days off (these do not have to be on the weekend, but with the au pair's previous agreement)
  • This type of applicant can look after children of school age and is not qualified in child care. They can only look after babies or children under school age if a parent is at home and the level of responsibility should be kept to a minimum as English is not the applicant’s first language. This is for the safety of your children
  • The applicant comes from one of the 27 EEC countries, and does not require a Visa to au pair in the UK. It is your responsibility to make sure you have full right of work in the UK and will not be refused entry. An au pair can look after children, O.A.P.s, help you get around if you are disabled in any way, look after your animals or house sit, if you are away. This is a very flexible student programme
Housekeeper (Live In)
  • This applicant works as an au pair or au pair+, but is more responsible for the maintenance of the family home, rather than childcare
Au Pair+ (Live In)
  • Same as above, but this applicant is ready to work more than 25hours a week for an increased wage. Families will pay the applicant for every hour worked over the 25 hours (a minimum of £100 for 40 hours)
Au Pair (Live Out)
  • These are rare. The au pair provides their own accommodation and pays their own bills.
  • The family pay the minimum wage, and pays National Insurance contributions and tax (as with a nanny)
  • There are very few of these type of applicants on the website, and they should live very close to the family the applicant is providing a service for
Mother’s Help (Live In)
  • This applicant is not qualified in childcare either, but probably comes from one of the English-speaking countries: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada or one of the old commonwealth countries
  • This applicant has come to the UK on a working holiday Visa. This applicant can au pair in the UK, but can also work anywhere they want for the duration of their Visa
  • As they speak English fluently, they can be given more responsibility with young children and babies, but families will pay them between £100 and £150 per week for 35 hours
  • This applicant is also quite rare, as they are able to do any other work in the UK
  • This Visa is normally valid for two years, and it is the family's responsibility to check that the applicant has a valid Visa
Student Visa
  • Young applicants from countries who have the financial means to come and study in the UK on a student Visa
  • This applicant can au pair or work in the UK. On a student Visa they can take a job for a maximum of 20 hours per week. They can work as an au pair, but they do need to study 15 hours a week (approx. 3 hours a day).
  • It is the family’s responsibility to check that the applicant’s student Visa is valid and yours to provide the information to the family
Nanny (Live Out)
  • This applicant has English as a first language, and is qualified in childcare and first aid (NNEB or equivalent), from new-born babies upwards
  • Normally lives out, and only works Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 6 PM

Note: Applicants should not normally work more than 40 hours per week. These are guidelines only for our families and au pairs We provide all of the above, except nannies

Healthcare

Whilst in the UK, au pairs are normally covered by the National Health Service. In the event of illness or injury, all doctor’s consultation fees are covered, although prescriptions would have to be paid for; approximately £7.00 per item.

In the event of hospitalisation as a result of accident or illness, all surgery, medical care, drugs & food etc. are paid for by the National Health Service. Au pairs should register with the family’s doctor soon after arrival.

Dental care in the UK is only partially covered by the National Health Service, and some dentists only offer private care. Dental care can be very expensive, and the au pair should take out private insurance to cover this.

However it is always safe to take a travel insurance when travelling abroad

Working Hours

An au pair works 25hours per week plus 2 evenings babysitting for pocket money of around £ 65 per week.

An au pair plus works up to 40 hours per week plus 2 evenings babysitting for pocket money of up to around £100 per week.

Duties include ....

  • Light housework (washing, ironing, cleaning/tidying the house)
  • Childcare and babysitting

Visas

An au pair is responsible for his/her own fare to and from the UK, to the nearest airport or London Railway Station or Coach Terminal, where the family is expected to meet him/her.

All au pairs must have a valid passport, and, if from a non EEC country, must have a letter of invitation from the host family to be allowed an au pair visa. This must be given to the au pair before arriving in theUK as this type of visa cannot be granted after an au pair is already in the UK (i.e. as a visitor)