USA

AU PAIRING

Becoming an au pair to an American family is another way to work legally, as it is organised through an agency. The Au Pair in America (APIA) organisation is widely recognised, but most agencies offer similar opportunities. US law regulates that au pairs in the USA earn $139.05 (approx. £88) for a week’s work, usually about 45 hours. Accommodation and food are both provided by the host family. Au pairs are required to enrol in a educational course for a few hours a week whilst working, this funded by the host family. The main requirements for au pairing are that you are aged between 18 and 26, hold a full clean driving licence, and have had experience of caring for children. A J1 visa is needed for this type of work, which allows you to stay in the country for a year. The US Embassy can be contacted for all details about this type of visa as well as those already mentioned.

As an au pair your chief duty will of course be the care of children but your duties may also extend to light housework such as washing clothes or cooking for the children. You should be willing to help the family out in tight spots with any other housework that needs doing but don't let yourself become a domestic servant as well as an au pair without your consent! As a bonus however a lot of the time the children will be attending nursery or school so you could well have a reasonable amount of spare time to yourself. To get the most out of the experience you should be creative and fun with the children and also make the most of your free time in ways that don't jeapordise the standard of care you provide. Getting steaming drunk the night before you are due to look after the children is unlikely to go down to well! Nevertheless you will have ample time to do whatever you want on your days off and the workload is never too high, with accomodation and food also provided this is a very attractive option for working in the US.

Useful Links

APIA is by far the most well known and respected au pair organisation in the US.

GoAuPair is a Federally recognised au pair organisation that also allows you a say in choosing your host family.