How to Become an Au Pair in England

Au pair means "on par" in French. The term au pair became associated with people who would negotiate to stay with a host family in a foreign country in exchange for housing, food and a small allowance. In return, the au pair would typically work part time looking after the family's children and perhaps doing chores around the home. Today, an au pair is a teenager or young adult, who wants a chance to stay and study in a foreign country. Au pairs come mostly from European Union countries, under Europe's freedom of movement regulations. Au pairs, however, can certainly come from many other countries outside the EU. Each country has their own rules and regulations on how to become an au pair in their country. Here's how to become an au pair in England.


  1. Image titled Become an Au Pair in England Step 1
    Have the correct passport.
    • England will only accept au pairs from certain countries. If you live in one of the 25 countries in the European Economic Area, or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, then you can become an au pair in England without any restrictions.
    • Bulgarian or Romanian nationals do not need a visa, but they do need to get an accession worker card from the U.K. Border Agency before beginning work as an au pair. They also need to meet certain requirements that are applicable to all but the EEA passport-holding au pairs.
    • Nationals from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Monaco can also apply for a visa to work as an au pair in England under the Youth Mobility Scheme. In order to qualify, you must be over the age of 18 but younger than 31, have at least �1,600 in available funds, and you can stay for up to 24 months. You must also be single, and without children of your own.
    • Citizens from countries not listed are not allowed to work as au pairs in England.
  2. Image titled Become an Au Pair in England Step 2
    Use an accredited agency to find placement.
    • The British Au Pair Agencies Association (BAPAA) was established in 2003, and is the only recognized trade association for au pair agencies. Choosing an agency that is a part of the BAPAA ensures you certain protection that you won't get by organizing your own placement. For example, agencies will agree to find you a second placement if your first doesn't work out. In addition, the BAPAA has outlined all the details of what is expected of the au pair, and what they get in return, and these are the standards that member agencies have to uphold. Agencies typically charge up front fees before they work on placing you with a family.
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    Find your own placement.
    • You can use a matching service to help find a host family. These sites are generally free to use, and you either search for families looking for an au pair, or you can submit your own information and hope that a host family contacts you. If you find your own placement, you will need to negotiate your own contract with the host family.


  • You are certainly able to use an au pair agency that is not a part of the BAPAA, but those agencies are not standardized or regulated. Use a BAPAA member agency for your own protection.


  • You can save money by choosing not to work with an au pair agency, but the risks to you are far greater. Choosing to find your own host family means that you will forgo the protection of your agency, and you will need to work out all the details of your contract with your host family before arriving.

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Categories: Domestic Assistance