Hosting an au pair can be a great way for your family to share cultural experiences and make new friends from other countries. However, there are some things to consider before deciding on whether to enlist the services of an au pair and become a host family. In this article, we talk about what it’s like to be a host family, the requirements for hosting, as well as some of the benefits of being one.
Whether prompted by the opportunity to participate in a cultural exchange, or the added flexibility of having live-in childcare, it’s important to also assess your own suitability for hosting. Let’s look at some of the pros:
And now some of the possible cons:
The au pair–host family relationship is a two-way exchange where the au pair provides childcare services, and the host family welcomes and supports them to experience Ireland, improve their language skills and enjoy the culture. It is up to the host family to ensure that all documentation is in order, for example, visa and registration with local authorities, insurance, and the securing of a Personal Public Service (PPS) number.
To become a host, there are several rules and regulations that you need to qualify under. Your family must:
Regarding accommodation, the au pair must be accommodated in the same house or apartment as the family lives in. The room must be suitably furnished, comfortable and private, and have access to a bathroom.
When it comes to visa requirements, it’s important to be aware of the options here. For example, depending on the nationality of an au pair, a working visa may or may not be required. If from an EU or EFTA country (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland), then there are no visa requirements. However, from outside of these areas there are a few visa options to explore:
It may be possible to extend a visa in the future and on behalf of your au pair. To explore this, it’s best to contact the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Once confident of your ability to meet the rules and regulations, then you can register and secure the services of an au pair. As part of the registration process, you will create your own family profile. You will then be able to advertise a vacancy as well as search for au pairs that are already registered and looking for work in Ireland. SureSitter allows you to initiate contact by messaging an au pair who you feel is suitable for the position with your family. From there you can exchange contact details and arrange an interview(s). An Au Pair can also respond to your job posting and initiate contact. We recommend that you arrange more than one interview before proceeding – this way you have given yourself and your prospective au pair the opportunity to get to know each other.
When you find the au pair for your family, it’s now time to discuss terms and formalise an agreement in a contract. A typical contract will include (though not limited to):
The contract is the opportunity to succinctly outline your expectations as a host family, and for the au pair to equally outline the expectations of a host family. The contract, apart from agreeing on the formalities, can be useful in avoiding any misunderstandings and can support a host and au pair to have a positive experience.
For more information and to register as a host family, get started with SureSitter. Founded by Irish parents, for Irish parents, we’re there to help.