3 Important Lessons For All UK Families Who Host Au Pairs After Brexit.
No matter how you voted, Brexit would've had some negative impacts on your life; whether collectively as a family or as an individual .
One major negative impact, for me, is shutting down the main source of Au Pairs coming to the UK. I am a parent who has relied on Au Pairs from the EU as my major source of childcare, I have hosted many, many Au Pairs from all around the world, although most of them were from the EU, so I think I can safely say that if I had to prioritise the areas in which Brexit has caused damage, childcare would be on the top of the list me and my family.
If you aren’t a parent and you have never hosted an Aupair before, then this means nothing to you and therefore this message isn't for you.
For those who are like me, who regularly depend on students who come to the UK to study, as their source of childcare, then you know what I am talking about. You have definitely gone through , or are going through the Aupair drought.
The future for childcare is not completely bleak, there is a way out and we can still work a way around this: by knowing these 3 useful pieces of information and how to use them to empower our childcare decisions.
1. Acceptance: The EU is no longer going to be a source of Aupairs, while there are some campaigns and petitions going on to get this fixed, you, as a parent, need to accept and make peace with the fact that you are not going to easily find Spanish, French ,Italian, Polish (you get my drift) Au pairs any more. "Easily" being the keyword here.
The importance of acceptance is that it saves you the time and money spent still looking for EU aupairs. Host Families are better off sourcing their Aupairs from outside the EU.
2. Visa control: before Brexit, there was limited border control for EU travellers coming into the UK. Most young people could come and go as they wished, which means they could take up work as an Au pair during their stay. Some could stay as long as 24 months. Now, there are restrictions to how EU citizens travel to the UK. They need a visitors' visa if visiting for 6 months or less. If studying, then they need a student visa and if wanting to work full-time, they need the relevant type of work permit. These restrictions are major deterrents for many Aupairs. A Polish babysitter I hired told me it just wasn’t worth the hassle for many of them and here is why:
A. 6 months' visitors' visa: Being an Aupair on a visitors visa is ILLEGAL, so, if you are thinking, “ it’s fine, I’ll get an EU Au pair on a visitor’s visa" you are breaking the law and you
could get in trouble as it is your responsibility to ensure that your Aupair is eligible to work.
B. Working visa: If anyone is going to go through the very expensive process of obtaining any kind of UK work visa that lets them work full time, it is highly doubtful that being an Aupair would be their aim.
C. Student Visa: This is the most likely avenue to Aupairing, as student visas lets students study and work part-time (maximum of 20 hours a week). The crazy part here is that education in the UK is really expensive, international (non-British students) are looking at about £10,000 a year tuition fee , and that is on the low end. Since there are many other EU countries with relatively cheaper education option, for those EU young people who seek education abroad, there is very little incentive to study in the UK.
If you consider hosting an international student, make sure that the 20-hours-a-week working limit would not hinder you.
3. Way forward: For many young people outside of the EU, the UK still remains a very attractive country for studying. In fact, many 3rd world countries still see the UK as one of the best countries to gain an international qualification, because the UK as raked in many years of credibility as a country where you are able to get quality and world class education.
When these young citizens get their university admissions and prepare to spend the next 3 years (undergraduate study) or 18 months (for Post graduate studies) some of them will look for opportunities to reduce the very heavy costs of studying in the UK. Aupairing is one of those options, and we, as parents are able to convince them to stay with us and help us out with childcare while we in turn help them out by giving them a safe place to stay without the burden of rent, bills and feeding.
In addition to this, there is another option, this is more unlikely, but possible. Hosting a British student of a foreign heritage or a pre-settled EU youth as an Aupair. This is less likely to be successful because, chances are that a British student or a settled EU has a home here, they are not in need of a home.
However, if they are studying outside of their hometowns, then it is possible that some prudent students may see being an Aupair as a way to reduce their student loans by not living on campus and paying for rent.
If you do host a British student, to fully enjoy the cultural programme of which Aupairing is, you really should consider hosting one who has a completely different background to yours. For example if you were White British, you could host another white British of Polish, German or French heritage who could teach your children a new language and expose them to new foods and cultures. Or a Black British family of African heritage might want to host a Black British student of Caribbean heritage.
As a parent and the owner of Aupair Match UK, I am here to let you know that I am constantly recruiting new students everyday from outside the EU.
Contact me if you are interested in finding an Aupair through my organisation.
See you at the next blog