Guide for Au Pairs

Whether you want to be an au pair abroad or an au pair in London and the UK, we can help you.

See here for placements to continental Europe, America, China, Australia and New Zealand. Read on for Au Pair Placements in the UK!

If you are a flexible person, who is easy to live with, has a reasonable amount of experience with children, and good references, then we would like to hear from you!

But why be an Au Pair?

Young boy in the UK with a grey t-shirt with blue writing and brown hair.

Being an Au Pair in the UK is a great way of achieving a fulfilling gap year adventure. In return for up to 30 hours of childcare per week, you will receive weekly pocket money, free accommodation and food, as well as plenty of free time to explore or take language classes. We know! It sounds too good to be true! Most of the team at Heavenly have been an Au Pair in another country, including the UK, and can highly recommend the experience. Only through living with a family and sharing in their life and activities can you really get to know the culture of that country. And you might just pick up another language along the way.

If you think you would prefer to live out, work more hours, earn a bit more, work with elderly or as a housekeeper, get in touch! We have a range of roles to suit all levels of experience, such as Nannies, or Mother’s Helps. Otherwise, take a peek at our jobs board to see our available positions.

How to become an au pair

Registering with Heavenly to be an Au Pair in the UK is simple, and free! We do not charge any fees to help find you a wonderful Au Pair host family in the UK. If you would like to find an Au Pair family in another country, a programme fee may apply.

Kindly complete the registration form at the link below and we will be in touch with further information about the next steps. You can also read about the application process and the documents required here. You can also read our tips for writing a great application further down the page.

Apply to be an Au Pair

Who can be an Au Pair in the UK?

The majority of our Au Pairs come from Europe, Australia and New Zealand, however, we are happy to help anyone who has a valid work or study visa for the UK. Candidates from within the EU do not need a visa to be an Au Pair in the UK. Do get in touch with your local British Embassy with any specific questions you may have.

Europe (EU & EEA):
  • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
  • The UK government has asserted that EU nationals can travel freely to/ from the UK until at least December 2020.
Rest of the World:

Heavenly Au Pairs and Nannies cannot help you to apply for a visa to be an Au Pair in the UK, however, there are options available:

  • Countries who have a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa agreement with the UK. More information is available on the UK government website. Countries included are New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Monaco, and Canada.
  • Au Pairs who can apply for an ancestry visa to live and work in the UK.
  • Candidates with an EU or British passport.
  • If you are studying in the UK with a valid student visa. Please note, you can only work a maximum of 20 hours per week while studying. Language schools do not normally qualify for a study visa, but check directly with the school.
  • Au Pairs who have another valid visa allowing them to work in the UK while living with a host family.
  • If you are British, we can help you find a nanny or mother’s help family throughout the UK, or find you a placement in another country. Take a look at our Outbound Gap Year options.

We can provide general guidance about visas for Au Pairs, but specific questions should be directed to immigration staff. Contact us, if you are unsure!

Why should I choose Heavenly?

Heavenly Au Pairs & Nannies is one of the top Au Pair and Nanny Agencies in London/UK and we place hundreds of candidates into wonderful families all over Great Britain and North Ireland every year. As we are a London based Au Pair agency, most of our families live in and around London. We love to hear feedback from the Au Pairs we have placed about how much they are enjoying their Au Pair experience in the UK. The majority find their “second family“.

Most importantly though, we are a member of some great Au Pair and Nanny associations (IAPA – International Au Pair Association, BAPAA – British Au Pair Agency Association, and ANA – Association of Nanny Agencies). Why is this important? We want you to have the best experience possible, and since we are part of these associations, we need to live up to certain standards. Watch the video below to hear from IAPA about why working with an accredited agency is worth it.

 

What does a IAPA or BAPAA agency offer me?

Regardless of whether or not you choose to register with Heavenly Au Pairs, we advise you to always find your host family through a BAPAA or IAPA agency. They should also be a  proper registered company (registered at Companies House in the UK).

  • An agency has the experience to make a good match, so the placement is far more likely to be a success.
  • Helps ensure your safety and security. Also offering an emergency out of hours helpline for your peace of mind.
  • The Au Pair agency will have informed the host family about details of the Au Pair programme in the UK. This means, that the family will know what is and isn’t allowed, and will make sure to treat you fairly.
  • Supports you when you are in your destination country. If you have questions, problems or need advice, they will be there to assist you.
  • Helps you settle in, to put you in touch with a database of potential friends, language school etc.
  • Gives you access to the official BAPAA app, to easily find and contact other local au pairs/mother’s helps
  • Provides you with the official Placement Certificate at the end of your au pair year. This is highly valued by universities and future employers.
  • Checks references of the host family.
  • Invites you to social events organised by the agency and BAPAA

Tips for completing the Au Pair applicationAn Au pair with a blue shirt and brown hair, who is doing a thumbs up

Remember that the family who reads your application to be an Au Pair in the UK does not know you yet. Your application is your chance to change that! 

By reading your registration, they will want to find out if you are a nice, kind, honest, reliable person, who they would enjoy including as part of their family. Make sure to mention why you think you would make a great Au Pair.

Families will be looking at:
  • Your childcare experience. What have you been doing with children that would make you a great Au pair? Do you have brothers or sisters who you care for regularly? Or neighbours who you babysit? How about that internship you did in a school last year? Make sure to explain what you have done clearly, including that ages of the children and how often you cared for them. This might include babysitting, summer camp positions, leading children’s church groups, tutoring, care of your younger sibling, etc.
  • Your personality and hobbies. Families are looking for someone who they can trust with their children and who will be a good role model. But at the same time, you will be living with them and they will be looking for traits and hobbies that are similar to their own. By making a short video (1-2 minutes) or writing a “Dear family” letter, you will have an opportunity to express your personality to the family before meeting them. A video really increases your chances of being chosen by a family.

To send us any additional information, you can email us or upload the files below:

Click to upload your files directly to Heavenly

If you are unsure, ask us for guidance! We have a wealth of information for Au Pairs about how to present yourself accurately to the family and to speed up the process of finding a good family.

You will be a great Au Pair / Mother’s Help if you:

An smiling Au pair from Logan Campbell

  • are caring, cheerful, honest, respectful, friendly, helpful, patient and flexible!
  • genuinely love children; to look after them, play with and teach them things
  • have already learned a bit of the local language
  • are open to new cultures, including new foods!
  • can manage any homesickness you might feel at the start.
  • are independent, but also enjoy being part of a family.

How to make your au pair placement a success!

Welcome to the Au Pair world! Have you read our page ‘What is an Au Pair’? If so, you will have a good understanding of what the role of an Au Pair in the UK is. Together with some common sense, this should be enough to make your placement is a success. Most placements work out very well, but occasionally some do not. This might be the fault of the Au Pair, or the Family, or just a mis-match of expectations/personalities. But to avoid this altogether, we have put together some helpful advice for making your Au Pair gap year in the UK a success!

What can you do to help?

Red telephone box in the UK

The most important thing is to choose your future host family with great care. Do not be afraid to ask the family what you need to know, and ask again if you are still unsure of the answer. Heavenly Au Pairs will only work with good, decent and honest families, but you still need to be careful to make sure you choose the right family for you. We do everything possible to prevent a placement from failing. If you are unhappy with your chosen family, we can help to resolve any problems you might have. 9 times out of 10, they can be fixed by communicating with your host family. If you have tried hard to resolve your differences, then of course you can leave. But that is an unpleasant situation for you, for the family and especially for the children. Best to avoid it!

General advice:
  • Answer the registration form honestly. This way the family knows who you are and what you can or cannot do before they choose you.
  • Stay in contact with the family,  both before you arrive and during the placement. As part of the family, you are an important person and must be contactable at all times.  They will be concerned about you like a family member. Always keep your mobile phone with you.
  • Treat everyone in the family with respect. Then, they will also treat you with respect.
  • The more helpful and kind you are in the family, the more they will like you and include you. This means they will take you into their hearts and really treat you as part of their family.
  • Communicate! Ask for help if you need it and remember to talk to your family daily. Your host family are getting used to you, just like you are getting used to them, so it is important to communicate in a positive way. Ask the questions you have, tell them about your day and your plans, talk to the children. As an added bonus, it will also help your English!
Your role:
  • Do not ‘clock watch’. If your hours end at 7pm, and it is 7.10pm then don’t drop everything and go out (unless you have an appointment which the family knows about and the children are looked after). A true member of the family would not do this. If you usually find you are doing longer hours and are unhappy about this, find another time to sit down and talk this through with your host parents.
  • Never leave the children unattended or let them on to the road or public space without your supervision.
  • Remember that you are here to help the family. They will of course ensure that you are safe and happy, but as an adult, they will expect you to be able to look after yourself. They do not expect to care for you like another child.
  • Keep yourself and your room clean and tidy.The Big Ben in London, UK
  • If you are unsure what you should be doing, ask until you understand. The family would prefer that you ask, rather than pretend that you understand.
Your free time:
  • Try to fit your lifestyle around the family. Attend language school and meet your friends in your spare time.
  • When you arrive, make an effort to make friends with local people or other Au Pairs. This will really help you to settle in quickly and make you feel at home.
  • With great technology, comes great responsibility! It could be tempting to call home every day. Our advice is not to do this. Research has shown that young people who contact their families too often are at greater risk of developing homesickness. It is therefore recommended that you call home just once per week at an agreed time. That way you will not spend too much time focusing on ‘home’, but shift focus to your new environment instead. When you put your efforts and thoughts into your new location you will either keep homesickness as bay, or conquer it.
  • Realise that homesickness is normal! Everyone, even those of us who have lived overseas for many years, feel homesick at times. Our international team members suggest speaking with your local friends or other Au Pairs, as they will have the same experience. Otherwise, get out of the house – explore, exercise, play a sport or find a hobby. They will help you feel happier and more settled in your new surroundings.

If your placement works well it could be one of the best, most fun and rewarding times of your life. We know many people today at the age of 40 who are still in touch with their Au Pairs from their own childhood! That’s success!

Apply to be an Au Pair

Thank you Logan Campbell for the use of the Au Pair photo.