Au pairing after Brexit: Possible future scenarios

There is still no clear word from the UK government about how au pairing will continue after the upcoming December 31 Brexit deadline. Based on the limited information available, here are insights about how au pairing might work post Brexit.

View of Big Ben and the Parliament
, in Au pairs

It's not news to report that the final arrangements for the UK's separation from the EU are unclear. Like everyone else, we wish things were more definite. With this article we want to summarise the current status and help EU au pairs and UK host families imagine what a post-Brexit future might look like.

Basic facts

  • The UK will leave the EU as of 31 December 2020.
  • Currently there is no agreement in place to regulate EU-UK relations after the end of the year. 
  • At the present time, the UK government states that short stays of up to 6 months for touristic purposes will be allowed for EU nationals in the UK going forward into 2021 without a visa.
  • There is currently no formal definition of the au pair status in the UK system. Au pairs are in any case not regular employees.

Possible future arrangements for au pairing (pending future developments)

Tourist visa

Travel to the UK as an EU tourist for visits up to 6 months does not require a visa. Whether this tourist status would also allow for a cooperation between a UK host family and an EU au pair during the available 6-month period is not clear. EU au pairs spending time in the UK do not have a clearly defined legal status, which makes this question open to various interpretations.

Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

There has been discussion between British-based au pair agencies and UK government representatives that EU au pairs might be included under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa in future. Currently this option is open only to citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan. If this option is finally implemented by the government, it would indeed open the door to EU au pairs but place higher demands on them, including

  • A visa fee of 244 GBP
  • Documented financial reserves of 1,890 GBP
  • Mandatory participation in the British health insurance costing 300 GBP for a 12 month period.

At the present time, no extension of this visa to cover other countries has been decided.

Tier 4 General Student Visa

Some au pairs (both EU and non-EU) may be able to arrange an au pair stay under the General student visa (Tier 4). Foreign students taking part in a registered course are sometimes allowed to work up to 20 hours per week, which could facilitate an au pair stay. But this will require close coordination with the involved host family.

What about right now?

For au pairs and families interested in short-term arrangements, it is still possible for EU citizens to go to the UK until December 31 as they have in the past without making further arrangements and to have an au pair stay there lasting until 30 June 2021. For au pair stays extending beyond that date, the currently unclarified questions regarding post-Brexit possibilities for au pairs will have to be answered as new information becomes available.

Keeping things in perspective

It is truly frustrating that the important question of the future of au pairing in the UK has been in a state of limbo for such a long time. At AuPairWorld, we remain optimistic that finally all of the involved parties will find a way to keep the doors open for the terrific win-win advantages that au pair stays provide for families, for young people, and for positive international exchange in general.

At the same time, it's clear to us that the resolution of the questions directly related to au pairing are not the top priority of the involved negotiators. There are so many difficult and challenging issues facing the EU and the UK as they work towards a final settlement. So we are doing our best to stay patient and stay positive. We hope you can do the same and urge you to express your support for au pairing in the meantime.