In today’s world of working parents, it has become increasingly popular for families to bring an au pair into their home. Germany is no exception. But remember that “au pair” means “on par” or “equal to” in French. The idea is that a young person (almost always female) spends time in a foreign country caring for children of the host family and in return has an opportunity to learn the host’s language and culture. These days the vast majority of au pairs in Germany come from eastern Europe.
There are a number of regulations that need to be adhered to as a host family for an Au Pair:
- Au Pairs from outside the EU must apply for a VISA in their home country.
- Young people aged 18 to 26 can apply for an Au Pair visa to Germany. First they must find a host Family and then make an appointment at a German embassy. In some cases, Au Pairs will need to present proof of basic knowledge of the German language. Usually the Goethe A1 Certificate or similar is enough.
- Au Pairs should receive 260 euros, health insurance, room and board, two vacation days per month, a public transportation pass and at least 1.5 days off per week.
- German embassies recommend applying for the visa two to four months before planned departure date. The visa process might take between 4/8 weeks.
In addition, au pairs are required to take a language course in their free time. The language course fees, the visa fee and any additional paperwork fees are all covered by the host family. Employing an au pair often involves a maze of legal regulations, and there are numerous commercial agencies which can handle the paperwork. Because cultural exchange is the key component of the au pair experience, only German-speaking families are permitted to hire au pairs in Germany.
Often, international families hire a profession nanny to help look after small children, particularly if both parents are in full-time employment. There are a range of options when hiring a nanny: full-time, part-time, temporary or even live-in nannies. The latter will need their own room and potentially their own bathroom. New mothers may also want to consider hiring a maternity nurse to help out during the immediate postnatal phase.