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Ensuring you know the essentials about becoming an au pair in the UK

Date: 06/07/2022
Author: Nanny Nina
About the Author: Hi! This has been published by one of our content queens. Do you have any questions or remarks about the blog? Please let us know!

Becoming an au pair in the UK – What are the requirements? What does the process consist of, which documents do you need, and what exactly are you going to do as an au pair? In short, how do you become an au pair in the UK?

Requirements for au pairs

Laws and regulations for au pairs in the UK

Au pairs must comply with these measures:

  • They have no children; 
  • They have a basic knowledge of English language skills;
  • They have at least an intermediate school certificate, a university degree is also a plus;
  • They are entitled to a visa (if necessary);
  • They can pay for visa (if necessary), their travel expenses and other au pair expenses;
  • They have a clear criminal record.

For au pairs who require a visa to au pair in the UK, these additional measures are also required:

  • Have £2,530 savings and can prove this
  • Signed au pair contract
  • TB test for applicable countries
  • Clear police record

It is important to note that the visa sponsorship is only available once to young people who qualify.

Brexit’s impact on au pairs

Great Britain is now officially no longer part of the European Union. This has significant implications for the aupair programme for both the au pair and the host family. According to the website of the British government, there is no current information on an au pair visa. Therefore, candidates from the EU can no longer officially enter the UK as au pairs. We will give an overview of which countries au pairs can come from to au pair in the UK.

au pair in the UK with host kids

Which au pairs can get a visa and work in the UK?

There are different possibilities to get a visa to become an au pair in Great Britain and work for your host family in the UK. 

Temporary Work
Government Authorized Exchange visa: this is a visa that allows you to
work in a country for a certain period after approval from the government. For
this visa you need a sponsor and you must meet the eligibility requirements.

Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme
A 2 year visa available to au pairs from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Monaco, San Marino and Iceland. This also applies to British citizens living abroad and those from British Overseas Territories.

If you’re a citizen from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, you must enter (and be approved by)  the official government ballot system, prior to your visa application. 

Student Visa or Short-Term Study Visa
Available to au pairs of all nationalities registered for full-time study in the UK or those doing a 6-12 month course. Please note however, that you can only perform limited amount of work and cannot earn money, so we don’t recommend this if you wish to become an au pair in the UK.

Pre-settled status for EU citizens living in the UK before 12/31/2020

These citizens had the option to apply for Pre-Settled Status until 6/30/2021. This makes it possible to stay for up to 5 years without restrictions on work or study.

Irish au pairs

As a result of the new Brexit conditions, au pairs from Ireland can enter and work in the UK without any additional restrictions.

British au pairs

If you are already from the UK and would like to get to know your own country better (or move to another area wihtin England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), you can also consider doing an in-country au pair year, for which of course no visa is necessary.

au pair hannah in australia her cute host kids

Au pair contract

To gain insight into the agreements made between you and the host family in the UK, there is an au pair contract. It must be signed before the au pair travel to the host country and must specify all the arrangements for the au pair’s stay (services, holidays, working hours, pocket money, etc.). This ensures a clear and fair settlement between the host family in the UK and the au pair. It is also possible to cancel the contract. The legal notice period is 14 days.

The au pair contract contains important information such as:

• Duties: as an au pair, the focus is on taking care of the children. It is also nice if you can help with the household. This includes light tasks such as running laundry, cooking for the children and unloading the dishwasher.

• Board and lodging: as an au pair you receive free board and lodging. This also applies during holidays and illness.

• Hours: as an au pair in Great Britain you work an average of 30 hours a week. This already includes the hours that you are babysitting (but you can agree with your host family to get paid for additional babysitting hours if you like to do this).

• Free time: you are entitled to at least 2 days off per week. One of these days must fall on a Sunday at least once a month. Nanny Nina also recommends giving the au pair 4 weeks of vacation every 12 months.

• Language course: au pairs must have the opportunity to follow an English language course. This is paid by the au pair themselves however we strongly recommend that the host family in the UK pays a contribution to this, to make it more affordable for the au pair.

• Driver’s license: many host families like it when an au pair has a driver’s license. It is important that you have sufficient driving experience to feel comfortable. Foreign driving licenses are valid for a period of 12 months after arrival. After this period, other arrangements may be necessary. In addition, it is important to clarify beforehand what the agreements are about insurance and liability issues and don’t forget that in the UK you drive on the left-hand side of the road.

The process to au pair in the UK

  • First of all, it is important to check the COVID-19 testing requirements before traveling. Check if you have to self-quarantine and what you need to enter the UK.
  • Visa Application: According to the UK government website, there is no current information about an Au Pair Visa. It is important to find out which visa you need. Check the government website for more details, since this may change without prior notice.
  • Insurance and Income Tax: Au pairs do not have the same employment status as regular workers and employees. Depending on how much pocket money you receive, you may have to pay income tax and national insurance.
  • Health Insurance: Non-EU nationals must get a private health and accident insurance for their whole stay, which must be pre-arranged prior to their departure from their home country. There are some countries (e.g. Australia, New Zealand, and others), that have signed a reciprocal health agreement with the UK, so those au pairs can use the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK based on their own home country health insurance. However, note that this is often limited to basic hospital treatments or emergency help. In any case, you should check this with the health care provider in your home country beforehand.
  • How long you can stay depends on the type of visa you have and the laws and regulations that go with it.

Are you ready for a new adventure?

So, you now know what the requirements are and what the process is to become an au pair in the UK consists of. So, there is only one question left:

Want to register as an au pair?

We’d love to look for a wonderful family for you!

Disclaimer: we are constantly monitoring and updating the current situation around Brexit and its implications on the au pair programme in the UK, however please note that we cannot guarantee that all material provided is complete and up-to-date. To be sure, always check the official UK government websites and if you find any errors in our published information, we’d be glad to hear from you.