, December 07, 2021

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The break-up for young nannies, no more EU Au Pairs in the UK

  •   2 min reads
The break-up for young nannies, no more EU Au Pairs in the UK

European au pairs are not able to work any more because of Brexit.

« It has completely stopped, they are no longer giving visa ».

Mary Gelibler from the Swedish Connection Au pair & Nanny Agency based in the UK. Mrs Gelibler refers to the EU au pairs who can no longer enter the United Kingdom since Brexit.

Au pairs are usually females under 25 coming from all over the world who decide to stay in a hosting family. Their duty is to look after the children (25 hours a week) in order to receive some « pocket-money », about 100£ per week. It was a suitable and flexible childcare for loads of families, in which a traditional nanny would be unaffordable (approximatively 2000£ per month).

Moreover, the United Kingdom used to be one of the most popular destinations to improve their English. French agencies were in direct relationship with British homes — especially as EU rules had reciprocal social security arrangements and a recognised status.

Post Brexit’s consequences

The new rules provoked instability for the UK’s au pair’s industry. Theresa May’s government was planning to seek a specific visa. However, Boris Johnson’s government did not pursue it.

« Today, only 9 countries are allowed to send au pairs to the UK »

Mrs Gelibler said.

The Youth Mobility Scheme visa is now required : including Australia, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taïwan. Au pairs from other countries cannot use a tourist visa to work, it would be illegal regardless the time frame. The only exception concerns a pre-settled status, otherwise it is no longer possible. This status refers to the immigration status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme to European citizens.

Assia, a French au pair took the lead :

« It has been more than a year now. I came before Brexit on purpose, at least four months before it started, in order to get this status. Life is so much easier for me, rather than people who came afterwards. This is problem :  you can’t stay more than six months ».

French au pair agencies are organising no placements in the UK this year, like the Au Pair Butrfly digital agency. One of the co-founders, Anne-Claire Vuillaume claimed :

« consequences are complicated for both countries : us, sending candidates, and them in the UK, which used to work with a lot of European profiles ».

She added :

« Now we are trying to find alternative solutions such as Ireland. But Ireland is a small country, so there are not a lot of families in need. All the European candidates want to go to Ireland now, but you must have an amazing profile. It’s pretty competitive ».

The co-founder reminds that the UK was the top-destination of the company, and since Brexit, young people’s plan to become au pair have been put aside.

Which solutions for the future ?

Throughout the time, an average number of 45,000 au pairs were demanded in the UK every year, according to the British Au Pair Agencies Association (BAPAA). Enough to put thousands of parents under pressure, afraid to lose their jobs as a consequence.

Those families and agencies wrote to their local MP’s to express how crippling it is on a daily basis, but without success. The BAPAA is still engaging a broad campaign called : « Save the Au Pairs » to urge the government to introduce a temporary childcare visa. Mrs Villaume explains :

« the UK’s government is aware of this issue, and might take actions by the end of this year. The idea would be to create an agreement on a specific visa related to au pairs status, (and financially) accessible for them".

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