When you are hosting an au pair, it is always an enriching experience for the family. For starters, it gives a lot of family benefits. But what is an au pair?
An au pair is a person who is from another country who provides live-in childcare in exchange for room and board with the family who hosts along with a salary. They need to have at least over 200 hours of experience and need to come from a professional training academy that can qualify their expertise over childcare. When you want to find a caregiver for your child, it can always be an overwhelming task. You may come across daycare centers, baby sitters or even nannies for your childcare but here is why an AU pair can be the right choice for you.
The stipend the au pairs get is around $200 a week so if they get to work for 45 hours a week and ten hours at a time. This is due to the work visa protection and they cannot work more than that. The AU pairs that come to the US come through a J1 visa and they need to be one of the 16 designated au pair programs. The agencies also need to charge the program fees which cover the travel costs, visa attachment process, orientation process and rest of the part of the onboarding-offboarding process.
How to choose a good au pair agency?
It is very simple, list down the qualities you are looking for in an au pair and the agency. You have to see their reputation, fee cost of the complete au pair program, your affordability, the nationalities of the au pairs available and in addition to this, you need a local childcare coordinator. You can learn about different au pair agencies and each agency recruits its au pairs from their pick of countries. These agencies can be really big in size by placing a minimum of 1000 au pairs throughout the world in a year. Before hiring the agency, you need to be pretty sure about how many other au pairs are there in your immediate area and how well are they.
If you are ever stuck between a few agencies to choose from, some parameters are using which you can easily decide which one to go for:
Cost, Availability, and Type of Care
This should be the first parameter or advantage of choosing an agency. The advantage should be where no matter the number of kids or the number of hours the au pair works in a week they will be paid the same fixed amount. Every agency can be differentiated by their program charge fees. Some require a higher stipend and some don’t. Hence, choose that agency where they have fees and the weekly stipends that fit well in your pocket and they hide no hidden costs.
Availability is very essential as the au pairs all arrive for a one year J1 visa. They need to have the opportunity to extend their visas for six or 12 months and they can wish to remain with the same host family or with another one. The agency can wish to provide an unbiased selection of au pairs who can fit as per your needs. There need to be available au pairs for your needs all the time.
Kind of care they are offering
As per the rules, au pairs are not allowed to take care of babies under the age of 3 months. They need to be under the supervision of the parent. Hence, the au pairs need to be specially trained for infant caregiving for children ages 4-24 months. The infant certification is a must and needs to be obtained before they get on the plane to the host’s house. They need to complete at least 200 hours of infancy care experience which will then be legally verified by the agency. Thus, you can always find programs that offer these early infancy caregiving au pairs too.
Thus, when you are looking for an au pair for your child, you need to understand that you have to work with only those agencies that have been registering with the US government otherwise their J1 visa can be rejected. The location, cost, length of stay and the kind of care are all very significant in this.
Finally, Au Pair in French means “on par”. Therefore, please treat them as your esteemed guests and welcome them in your community with open arms. It always pays off when you give them a warm welcome because they are doing one of the toughest jobs for you: taking care of your baby. You need to treat them properly because of the mutual benefits you have reached.