Entry and visa requirements for au pairs in Ireland

Ireland is a popular destination for au pairs, as it offers a unique blend of culture and tradition, as well as the opportunity to live and work in a welcoming and friendly environment. However, obtaining the proper visa and navigating the rules and regulations around working as an au pair can be confusing, particularly for non-EU citizens. In this article, we will explore the various types of visas available for au pairs in Ireland, the requirements associated with each, and the steps necessary to successfully apply and work as an au pair in the country, with a special focus on the differences between EU and non-EU citizens, as well as EFTA citizens.

Non-EU citizens

There is no specific visa category for au pairs in Ireland, with individuals typically travelling to Ireland to work on a working holiday visa or via a general employment permit, rather than on a specific Au Pair visa. One of the most commonly used visas for au pairs in Ireland is the Student Visa which is a specific type of permit designed for individuals who want to come to Ireland to study and allows for no more than 25 hours of work per week. There is also the Youth Mobility Scheme which allows citizens from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan to apply to be au pairs in the Republic of Ireland. The US-Ireland Working Holiday Agreement is another frequently used visa that enables Irish and US citizens to work and travel in each other’s countries for up to 12 months. 

Once you have secured your visa and travelled to Ireland to join your host family you must then register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau to change your visa into a residence permit, and secure a Personal Public Service (PPS) number, enabling you to access public services and information in Ireland. 

There are a number of requirements to be aware of if you are a non-EU citizen. You must:

  • be between 18 and 27 years, 
  • be comfortable speaking and understanding English
  • hold a certificate to show you have graduated from, at minimum, an intermediate school
  • be eligible to apply for a visa to Ireland
  • be able to pay for your visa and travel costs to Ireland

To qualify for a visa, regardless of citizenship, applicants must have a valid job offer from an Irish host family. All non-EU nationals are required to have a valid work visa.

EU and EFTA citizens

The process of working in Ireland is slightly different for EU and non-EU citizens, as well as EFTA citizens. Citizens of EU member countries i.e., Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden, along with citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland (EFTA countries) are not required to have a visa to enter or work in Ireland. All other countries are non-EU.

The requirements if you are an EU/ EFTA country citizen are as follows:

  • be aged between 18 – 28 years 
  • have good English language skills 
  • be able to pay for your own travel costs

Au Pair Insurance

For an EU citizen, it is possible to get your European Health Insurance Card (EIHC) which enables you to access the public healthcare system of the host country. Be mindful however, as there are variations in the care included in the public health systems from country to country in the EU, it can be a good idea to also secure additional private insurance. 

If you are travelling from outside of the EU, you will be asked to confirm your insurance coverage as part of the visa application process therefore it is important to seek out coverage from a provider that best suits your needs.  

Working as an Au Pair

When working as an au pair in Ireland, it’s important to understand the responsibilities and expectations associated with the role. Au pairs are typically responsible for assisting with childcare and other household tasks, such as light cleaning, laundry, and meal preparation. You should have experience working with children, a strong work ethic, good communication skills and integrate with and adapt to the family’s customs and routines. Additionally, it’s important to remember that au pairs are not allowed to bring their own children with them to Ireland, as their main responsibility is to look after the children in their host family.Working as an au pair in Ireland can be a rewarding experience, not only for the cultural exchange and the opportunity to live with an Irish host family but also for the practical experience and references it can provide. Au pairs in Ireland are also entitled to the same rights as Irish workers in relation to working conditions and social welfare, including a minimum wage, paid holidays, and other benefits. It’s also worth noting that after completing an au pair placement, some au pairs may be eligible to apply for other types of work permits in Ireland, such as the Critical Skills Employment permit or the General Employment permit.

In conclusion, with the right preparation and understanding of the requirements and regulations, au pairing in Ireland can be a valuable and rewarding experience for both EU and non-EU citizens. As an au pair, you will not only be working but also living with an Irish host family and experiencing the Irish culture and traditions firsthand. This is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, learn new skills and make lasting memories. Overall, working as an au pair in Ireland can be a great opportunity to see a different part of the world, learn new things, and grow as an individual. For further information on the visa process, refer to the  Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and the Garda National Immigration Bureau website which offer comprehensive guides about the process and should be consulted for the most up-to-date information. We hope you have found this article helpful, and please feel free to share it with friends that might also find it useful. At Suresitter, we’re here to support you to grow your experience. You can register your interest to au pair with us and get started in this new and exciting adventure.