Frequently Asked Questions
Our FAQ section should answer all your questions. During the one-to-one telephone consultation we make sure we answer any remaining questions.
Questions for Host Families
All au pairs are expected to help with the following tasks as a member of your family:
- Dressing or helping to dress/wash/bathe children before or after nursery, playgroup or school
- Nappy changing or potty-training
- Preparing breakfast for children
- Taking/collecting children to/from kindy, playgroup, school, appointments, clubs, or outings
- Driving (family to arrange driving assessment, lessons and insurance and ensure they are satisfied with the Au Pair’s driving skills)
- Entertaining children or supervising them during play
- Preparing children for bedtime
- Making children’s beds and keeping children’s rooms tidy and clean
- Preparing simple meals for the children
- Helping to prepare family meals
- Occasional cooking for the whole family
- Clearing the table, loading and unloading the dishwasher or washing up at meal times
- Vacuuming and tidying family areas
- Keeping own room clean and tidy (and bathroom if en-suite)
- Assistance with children’s laundry; loading and unloading the washing machine, tumble dryer or hanging out & folding washing
- Occasional shopping for food and other items (*not weekly shop for the entire family!)
- Being at home while children are at home due to illness or school holidays
- Help with children’s school work
- On our Pocket Money page we explain the costs
Your family needs to consider the following costs in addition to weekly pocket money:
- Full board in a furnished, private room
- Completion payment of $500 (compulsory component of the program; not subject to performance)
- Collection from International Airport (or onward travel if you live in regional location)
- Car Insurance and optional driving lesson(s) if car use is required
The Au Pair must be given their standard weekly pocket money during periods when your family is travelling or on holidays. This payment is required regardless of whether your Au Pair accompanies your family. Please discuss directly with your au pair to decide holiday duties, timetable and benefits/allowances or give us a call for more information about your specific holiday plans.
Au pairs are generally healthy and fit. There are no IAPA guidelines as aupairing is Cultural Exchange and not employment.
The Au Pair must be given their standard weekly pocket money for occasional sick days. Please discuss directly with your au pair to decide what’s fair, depending on the duration/severity of sickness.
Au Pair roles should not exceed 35 hours. If there is a need for extra help, for example during school holidays, or when you have a sick child who has to stay home for a few days, try to organise some extra time off another week.
Although the Au Pair program is known internationally as a cultural exchange program, there is no ‘official’ au pair program in Australia.
We recommend that you seek independent advice regarding Australian tax and Super requirements.
For more information see Australian Tax Office website
We understand that the ATO is reviewing the Au Pair Program and tax requirements for au pairs may change.
As a host family, we suggest you add the au pair to your home insurance policy. All au pairs have international gap year travel insurance to cover medical, repatriation and liability and we ask the au pair to give you those details together with their travel information.
We provide candidate profiles complete with a Police Clearance from the home country of the au pair, a medical report and a minimum of two references.
In addition to this, further background checks are now mandatory in most States and Territories in Australia.
Some au pairs book an arrival package including local orientation. This is an additional service, booked and paid through a separate company.
Most au pairs fly directly to the host family and we welcome them to attend our Meet & Greet events in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
All families & au pairs receive helpful hints and tips by email to get you both started.
A Demi-Pair can help with childcare for up to 20 hours per week to fit around language classes. During school holidays longer hours may be agreed.
Demi-Pairs are in Australia on a Student visa which means they are part time language students and part time au pairs. The language school we collaborate with is ELC, on Kent Street near Town Hall station.
English lessons can be in the morning until early afternoon or in the evening, starting from 5pm. A class timetable can usually be agreed to fit your family requirements, i.e. all morning classes or all evening classes. Host families interested in the Demi-Pair program must live in locations no further than 1 hour by public transport to Town Hall station.
Weekends should be mostly free apart from occasional babysitting.
The Demi Pair program has the same duties included as the au pair program, with fewer weekly hours. Expect your Demi-Pair to have intermediate language skills. Pocket money is $100 per week.
An au pair is fantastic as an extra pair of hands when mum has a baby, especially if there are also older children. The au pair can take the older children out to play, giving mum time to concentrate on the baby.
We do not recommend/endorse/facilitate an au pair to provide sole care for children under two (2) years of age. Generally, the ‘average’ au pair is not experienced enough with this age group and this is simply too much responsibility without a parent to supervise and/or assist during the day.
Some of our Diamond and even some Gold au pairs would be able to provide limited care for children 12-24 months. Limited care would be short periods of time without immediate parental supervision and after spending enough time alongside a parent to train for this responsibility.
All our au pairs pay for their own flights to Australia, visa application and gap year travel insurance. The host family is responsible for airport collection.
If your au pair has a full, clean driving licence from the UK or an EEA country, she/he is permitted to drive in Australia. You au pair should organise an International licence prior to travelling to Australia.
Many families need the au pair to drive the car for school runs or sports activities. As driving in Australia is different, it is best to consider a driver with some experience and make sure to book a few driving lessons with an independent instructor to familiarise the au pair with your local area and regular routes taken and at the same time assess driving skills. Extra lessons may be needed. The host family is responsible for appropriate insurance and should cover all car costs.
Our au pairs from Korea and Japan are often less confident when it comes to driving. If you need her to navigate busy city traffic, make sure you take this into consideration.
Some families, especially those living in locations with limited public transport, will also give access to the car in the au pair’s spare time. Make sure the arrangement and boundaries are clear and agree who pays the extra petrol. In our handbook you will find some more practical tips.
Please explain local road signs (especially parking!) and speed restrictions.
Many families like the idea of first training for their au pair and book a course for her on arrival. Smartaupairs give access to free online First aid training.
In Germany, basic First Aid is part of the driving test!
Our au pairs are all instructed to travel with appropriate Gap Year Travel Insurance. This not only covers medical care but generally also repatriation and liability.
When we send the au pair arrival details, we will also inform you of her insurance details/policy number and emergency contact numbers.
Although your au pair should be making many new friends in Australia, she will also want to keep in touch with home.
Most families are able to provide internet access to their au pair. They can use Skype, Whatsapp or another platform to contact their family.
You may want to discuss what times she can use the internet to keep in touch (outside work hours, time limits may apply)
NOTE: broadband in Europe is generally unlimited. In Australia you can be charged for excessive use, please discuss this with your au pair!
Even with the best planning and support, occasionally things do not work out and someone is unhappy.
Please talk things over first. If a solution cannot be found, please call our office so that we can assist and mediate. We may be able to provide suggestions you had not considered.
If the situation cannot be resolved, we can discuss a rematch.
Our au pairs travel on a Working Holiday Visa. There is no need for complicated sponsorship and generally the visa application is very quick (next day for most European candidates)
Au Pairs can now apply to extend their stay beyond 6 months, more information and application forms are available on the Australian Immigration website.
There is no au pair visa for Australia.
Our au pairs in Australia generally do not take language classes. Their skills range from good to advanced and they have often learned English in a ‘class’ environment for many years and now just need to gain more practical skills from day-to-day communication in your family.
Questions for Au Pairs
Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)
For people from Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and United Kingdom.
Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)
Information for applicants from Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and the USA on holiday and work visas in Australia.
If you want to be Au Pair in Australia you will need to qualify for a visa from the above categories. We have partner agencies in many of the above countries to assist with your application. You can only apply to us directly for the Au Pair in Australia program if you are already Australia at time of registration.
Au Pairs can now apply to stay longer with their host family, more information and application forms are available on the Australian Immigration website.
Au Pairs travelling to Europe will get detailed information during the au pair briefing and interview. Each country is slightly different and it depends the country, your circumstances and the program you apply for as to what visa may be best for you.
- • A great place to meet other au pairs is our Smartaupairs Meet & Greet. A member of our team travels to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to welcome our au pairs in person and introduce them to each other as well as helping them along with anything else you may need when you first arrive.
- • Join a local Club – anything from (team) sports, scouts, church, gym, fitness, running, music, reading, chess, film-club. Ask the host family to find out about clubs nearby. Often Clubs run by the local council (government) are cheaper than private clubs.
- • If there is a University in the City, there are usually student get-togethers and leisure activities.
- • On our Facebook group; you can find out about pairs nearby and see if any meetings are being organized
- • Register with Facebook groups for au pairs (Facebook groups are also open to others so take care before arranging any meeting and/or giving personal information)
- • Register with ‘ex-pat’ groups in your area, other people who are new to the area are very likely to also be looking to meet other people nearby to explore together
- • Sign up for a local excursion, especially backpackers daytrips will be certain to be booked by other young people AND it is a great way to see more of the country.
- • During your time off, you can get involved in volunteering, Google ‘volunteering + your location’ to find out how you can get involved, you may be able to help with local events, conservation & wildlife projects, at the local church or community centre.
- • Ask your host family to introduce you to au pairs and/or other people of your age in the area
- • Find local meet up clubs on www.meetup.com Type in your city or postal code and use keywords such as: au pair, nanny, language class etc.
All host families provide background checks and references. We know many of our host families from years of previous au pair placements. Families are interviewed in detail by phone; family, home and work details are discussed.
As au pair you take part in a cultural exchange program. You are expected to do 25-35 hours of duties, mostly related to childcare but also some light housework. Don’t forget, you also get all your accommodation and meals!
Au pairs are expected to pay for their own flight to the host family unless specifically agreed otherwise. The host family will collect you from the airport or arrange for collection.
TIP: double check your luggage allowance. Excess luggage may cost as much as your ticket.
If you have a full, clean driving license you should be permitted to drive abroad. We recommend you apply for an International Driving Permit before you travel.
If the family needs you to drive their vehicle, they will arrange appropriate insurance for the car you will be driving. We also ask them to provide you with a couple of lessons and time to practise before you drive on your own or with the children.
Please provide a copy of your International license in advance.
Before you travel, you must have travel insurance.
Your au pair insurance policy should protect you from costly emergencies, repatriation and legal assistance.
There are several ways of improving your CV. Putting the Au Pair experience on your CV shows that you are independent, mature and capable. It also indicates that you are able to be flexible and work as part of a team. Living abroad makes you more culturally aware and if, at the same time you have improved your language skills, this is another valuable benefit of aupairing!
Other extras that are great on your CV and are easy to achieve as part of your time as an au pair are:
- • First Aid
- • Approved Language Exam at the end – to show how much you have improved your language skills
- • Volunteering in Australia; to enhance your cultural exchange experience further, why not help in the local school, club or community centre.
Please speak to your host family if you would like to earn more. They may be able to help you.
- • Babysitting
Your host family may be able to recommend you to their friends for babysitting. That way you will come recommended and you know you will be safe.
- • Dog Walking
If you like fresh air and keeping fit, why not help a busy dog owner by walking their dog(s). It saves you money on gym membership and you meet new people in the park too!
- • Tutoring
Your host family may be able to recommend you to their friends for (language) tutoring or help with homework. It is sometimes nice to gain additional exprience from working with children of a different age group to the host family’s children.
Even with the best planning and support, occasionally things do not work out and someone is unhappy.
Talk to your host family first! We always first try to assist to find a solution between the two parties. We can mediate and often an open and frank discussion results in a positive outcome.
However, there are situations where this is not the case. Each situation is different and we will do what we can to support both parties. If appropriate, we find a replacement.
At all times we ask both parties to remain courteous. The hosting invitation states 14 days notice, giving au pair and host family a chance to make alternative arrangements.
Although you will be making lots of new friends, it is important to keep in touch with your family and friends back home. Traditionally this has been costly but with technology evolving all the time, you may find that it is much easier now to keep in touch.
If you have broadband at home and at your host family, you can chat online in writing and also speak to them. If you have a webcam, you can even see each other. Before you leave home, talk to your parents and advise them of the options, this way you can share your experience!
At the end of the au pair stay, our au pairs find that they have gained valuable skills for life.
Employers and Universities really appreciate applicants who have been abroad and our certificate is an ideal way to show them about your achievement