The au pair program
The au pair program is a fantastic program to participate in. It is an enrichment for both the host parents and the children to get acquainted with each others language and culture. Host children grow up multilingual in a playful manner, which will be of great benefit for them at school and at a later stage in their future careers. Almost all host families build up a close friendship with the au pair during the exchange year. They keep in touch for years and some host families visit the au pair later in her home country. Furthermore, an au pair can assist in bringing more calm to the hectic family life and provide support during busy daily rush hour life. They provide more balance in the house and so the family can enjoy the precious time with the children and each other.
An au pair is a foreign young person between the ages of 18 and 25 who is staying with a host family in the Netherlands as part of a cultural exchange programme. The word ‘au pair’ literally means ‘on an equal footing’: the au pair is therefore not an employee, but works as a full-fledged family member. It is the intention that the host family offers the au pair a home and involves her as much as possible in normal family life. You celebrate birthdays and holidays together, such as Sinterklaas and King’s Day, and now and then you take a cultural outing together, such as a visit to a museum.
Tasks that the au pair may perform include babysitting the host family’s children and doing so-called light household chores. Babysitting includes complete child minding or care, like playing with the children, feeding them, putting them to bed, organizing and coordinating play dates and transporting them to their extracurricular activities like tennis, swimming or football. Light household tasks or chores may include unpacking the dishwasher, vacuuming or preparing a simple meal. The rest of the time the au pair is free to do other personal activities, for example taking a language course, meeting other au pairs, doing sports or participating in a family activity.
Length of stay
The au pair stays in the Netherlands for a continuous period of up to 12 months.
At the end of their stay, the au pair must return to their country of origin.
An au pair may perform babysitting activities and so-called light household tasks within the host family. Babysitting tasks can include, playing with the children, the complete care (including putting to bed, feeding, giving a bath), transporting them to play appointments or swimming lessons. Light household chores include, for example, unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming or preparing a simple meal. During her free time, an au pair can fill in this time at her own discretion, for example, follow a language course, meet up with other au pairs, play sports or participate in a family activity.
Conditions for host families and au pairs
The Dutch Aliens Act imposes conditions on host families and au pairs. For example, host families must consist of at least two people and have sufficient income. The host family must also be able to offer the au pair a private room plus bathing facilities. Au pairs may not have previously been acquainted with the Dutch language and culture in the Netherlands and may not pose a threat to public order and safety.
Au pair literally means 'on an equal footing'
Visa and residence permit au pair
Au pairs usually need a visa and a residence permit to be able to stay lawfully in the Netherlands. Au Pair International takes care of the application to the IND on behalf of the au pair and the host family.
Duty of administration, duty of information and duty of care
Au Pair International has a duty of administration, information and duty of care by operation of law. This means, among other things, that we must keep a file of each exchange year. We must inform the IND about relevant changes (such as changes in the au pair’s schedule or a change in the family composition), and that we must carefully screen and inform the au pair and the host family, and that we must supervise them during the exchange year.