Who Are We?
We are a professional Au Pair agency that places au pairs with families throughout the U.K. Due to our national coverage we now have offices in Northampton, Wimbledon, London and Sevenoaks, Kent.
What is an Au Pair and what do they do?
An Au Pair is a single, unmarried person, without dependents, aged between 18 and 30 (inclusive), who comes to the UK to study English and learn about the British culture. Usually female, although more males are now applying to be Au Pairs, they live as part of a host family and in exchange for bed, board and a weekly allowance; they perform general duties around the house. This mainly involves helping with childcare, some light housework, preparing meals and babysitting.
Any EU citizen irrespective of sex or age may be an Au Pair. Any unmarried non-European aged 18-30 from a list of countries defined by the Home Office may be an Au Pair. An Au Pair may be male or female. For more information:what is an au pair?
Which countries do the Au Pairs come from?
Au Pairs can come either from countries included in the European Union, European Economic Area or countries participating in the government’s Youth Mobility Programme. We work with Partner Agencies all over Europe included in these categories. For more information visit this link to the Home Office: home office for the current Tier 5 guidelines.
Do Au Pairs need work permits or Visas – and is it my responsibility to check this?
Applicants from Macedonia, Turkey and Bosnia are no longer able to apply for the au pair programme at this time. As of 27th November, 2008, the goverment replaced the au pair scheme with the Youth Mobility Programme which requires participating countries to make an agreement with the government to be a sponsoring country. At the time of writing, only Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have arranged such an agreement. Nationals of these countries, wishing to come to the UK as an Au Pair, must obtain a visa from the local British consulate or visa processing centre before travelling to the UK. It is their responsibility to do this, but it is highly advisable for you to also check that they have done so, that it is valid and that you have seen a copy. For more information and to check current legislation visit the following link:government visas page
Is there a limit to how long an Au Pair can stay?
Yes. An Au Pair can stay in the country working as an Au Pair for up to two years, so long as they comply with Home Office rules. There is no minimum length of stay but most families are looking for help for three months to two years. You can check British government visa legislation by clicking on the following link: government visas page
Do I have to go through an agency to find an Au Pair?
We would always strongly recommend working with an Agency. Our girls have paid to register with the Agencies we work with so they are extremely committed to working at the job they find. By choosing to go through a reputable agency, you are choosing a safer, more secure route for finding an appropriate candidate. You will have help and advice at the end of a phone and if anything should not work out, you have back up from the agency.
If I want to find an Au Pair, what do I do?
If you would like us to work on your behalf to find a suitable Au Pair please call us and we would be happy to take you through the procedure in person or email you a Registration Form to complete at your leisure.
If I want to find a nanny, and not necessarily an au pair, what do I do?
Please enquire with a reputable Nanny Agency.
Is there a charge?
Yes, we charge a one-off fee for selecting and introducing you to an appropriate Au Pair applicant. The fee is only charged once you have agreed our choice and invited the applicant to be your Au Pair. Please note, as with all au pair agencies, we are classed as an ‘Introduction agent’ and our fee is based on the work we do BEFORE your au pair arrives. Please be sure you understand this, as it does save misunderstandings later on.
Amongst other things, our fee includes maintaining a relationship on the client’s behalf with many partner agencies in the applicants’ home country, making international calls to au pairs and partner agents for the client, regularly liaising with the client once registered with our agency; procuring copies of all relevant documents that the Au Pair will need to be in this country legally and helping with any visa application process that is needed. We also help arrange travel for the au pair, provide support and advice one the au pair has started with the family.
We have a sliding scale of charges, which we have carefully worked out in response to customer feedback. They aim to reflect what a client is looking for in terms of length of stay and au pair skills.
We are competitively priced and would invite you to ‘shop around’ to check other agencies as well. However, when doing so, do remember to check if the price you are being quoted includes VAT or not, and whether you will have to pay a registration fee. We do not charge VAT. Please click on the following links for more detailed information: fees & terms & conditions
Is the Information I give confidential?
Yes. Files on both Au Pairs and families are confidential.
Can I request a specific nationality?
Yes you can; we have Au Pairs from many different countries: Austrian, Belgian, Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish Au Pairs to name just a few! However the more flexible you are in your requirements, the more Au Pairs you will be able to choose from. Our aim is to find you the best Au Pair to suit your requirements and we do not accept discrimination on the basis of colour, creed or country of origin.
Will my Au Pair be able to speak good English?
Levels and requirements vary enormously. However, one of the principal reasons for an Au Pair coming to stay with a British family is in order to learn, improve or perfect his/her English. The best thing is always to be honest about your needs and talk to the Au Pair beforehand, to establish their ability. During the first two or three weeks, make allowances for the fact that the language is new for them and encourage their early efforts to communicate. Most families find that once here and settled in, Au Pairs generally pick up the language very fast, particularly if attending a language course at the same time.
How can I help my Au Pair settle in?
Most Au Pairs are young girls experiencing being away from home for the first time. Everything will be strange to them and they will often be very homesick at first. Both parties often need understanding. To help ease your Au Pair into your family life as quickly as possible, small gestures often go a long way to making her feel wanted. A kindness would be to allow her a phone call home to tell her family that they have arrived safely.
Often the Au Pair’s mother may be anxious about her daughter traveling to a foreign country and it can help enormously for you to have a quick word with them if they speak any English to allay their fears.
Providing the Au Pair with her own room, comfortably furnished and – if possible – with a TV for their own entertainment is important, as is respecting their privacy during time ‘off’. For more information you can go directly to our page of useful tips by clicking on the following link: useful tips.
What happens if things go wrong?
In almost all cases, things run very smoothly, with both Au Pair and family enjoying the experience and often making life-long friends. However, occasionally there may be a problem. Most can be ironed out with help and advice but if, after genuine effort on both parties, the situation is not working, then Avon Au Pair Agency will make every effort to replace the Au Pair with another suitable candidate.
For more information it is important to familiarise yourself with our terms of business. You can go directly to this page by clicking on the following link: terms & conditions
How do I know if my Au Pair will be safe?
Many agencies will try to bluff this question, but the real answer to this difficult and understandable question is that ultimately you don’t. Au Pairs are not qualified child carers and should not be treated as so. They should never be left in sole charge of a child under three years of age at any time. However, by using a reputable agency such as Avon Au Pair Agency, and by following the guidance given, you can do many things towards ensuring that your Au Pair is as ‘vetted’ as possible. For our part, we work with reputable partner agencies and make sure that references are available to the families. We strongly recommend that families pursue their own checks in addition to any that may have already been carried out. We advise you to follow up references, contact referees and make sure you see copies of medical/relevant certificates. Also, ask as many questions of your potential au pair as will help settle your mind prior to their arrival. We cannot emphasise enough that the time for these checks is before the Au Pair arrives in your home.
Finally, it is natural to be nervous – but don’t forget – the applicant and her family will be feeling exactly the same about you!