Au pair in the UK: The new post-Brexit situation in 2021

With the start of 2021, young people from EU countries are no longer able to travel freely to the UK for an au pair stay. They will be subject to the same conditions as young people from other countries. Here is the latest available information on options available to UK host families and young people interested in au pairing in Great Britain.

View of Big Ben and the Parliament
, in AuPairWorld News

The new arrangement regulating relations between the UK and the EU following Brexit that has now taken effect as of 1 January 2021 makes no explicit provision for young people to come to the UK for an au pair stay - whether they are from the EU or from a non-EU country. With a few exceptions (for Irish au pairs, for example), EU and non-EU young people will be treated the same. EU au pairs who began their au pair stays prior to 31 December may continue to live in the UK for up to 5 years without being subject to the new restrictions by applying for Pre-Settled Status.

Options for au pairs in the UK after Brexit

Although there is not a defined au pair programme for young people in the UK, there are a number of arrangements which can nonetheless facilitate an au pair-style cooperation between UK host families and young people from other countries. 

Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

This visa option is available to citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan. It allows participating young people between the ages of 18 and 30 to spend up to two years in the UK. Details about how the program works can be found on the UK Visa Requirements page of the AuPairWorld website.

Tier 4 General Student Visa

This visa option is open to young people from all countries. For young people participating in a course of study provided by a licensed student sponsor (for example in a B2 language course or above), it may be possible to work up to 20 hours per week as an au pair in addition to the course of study being pursued. More information about how this type of arrangement could facilitate an au pair stay is available on the UK Visa Requirements page of the AuPairWorld website.

Young people from Ireland

Young people from Ireland interested in an au pair stay in the UK can continue to enter and work in the UK without any additional restrictions resulting from the new Brexit deal.

UK Ancestry visa

Young people from Commonwealth countries who have a grandparent who was born in  in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man can apply for an Ancestry Visa which will allow unrestricted work or study in the UK for a period of 5 years. More information about how this visa could facilitate an au pair stay is available on the UK Visa Requirements page of the AuPairWorld website.

Questions & Answers about post-Brexit au pairing in the UK

I am an au pair from the EU and started my au pair stay in the UK in 2020. What are my options now? 

EU au pairs who began their au pairs stays in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 have the option of extending their stays beyond the 30 June 2021 deadline (which is allowed automatically as part of the transition period) by applying under the EU Settlement Scheme. Applications for such an extended stay must be submitted prior to 30 June 2021 and can be made free of charge. With Pre-Settled status, EU citizens have the right to remain in the UK for up to 5 years.

We are a UK family looking for a new au pair. What options do we have?

  • When using the AuPairWorld search tools, you can select the option "Show au pairs in my country". This will give you search results showing young people already present in the UK, many of whom may have Pre-Settled status which gives them a basis for staying in the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future.
  • Another search strategy would be to focus on au pairs from countries where young people are eligible to apply for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Visa (see information above). These countries are:  Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan.
  • A third search strategy would be to focus on au pairs from countries where young people are eligible for the UK Ancestry Visa. These are young persons who come from Commonwealth countries (e.g. Canada, Australia, India, South Africa, etc.) who have a grandparent that was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.        

Is there a specific visa for au pairs in the UK?

There is currently no visa provided especially for young people with the au pair status. Young people interested in spending time in the UK for the purposes of cultural exchange can try to make use of the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Visa or the Tour 4 General Education Visa (conditions described above) in combination with an au pair-style cooperation with a UK family to facilitate their stay. For young people from Commonwealth countries, the Ancestry Visa could also facilitate an au pair cooperation.

I am currently an EU au pair in the UK. Can I go home to my home country and return to the UK to continue my au pair stay?

Yes, you can. The best way to do this is to apply for Pre-Settled Status now. With this status you will be able to leave and return to the UK for a period of 5 years without restrictions.

What are the provisions for healthcare for EU au pairs in the UK after 1 January 2021?

This question still has not been clearly answered by the involved governments. For EU citizens already resident in the UK prior to 31 December 2020, it appears that they will be issued a new EHIC card that will be valid going forward. For anyone beginning a stay in the UK after 1 January 2021, it is strongly recommended to arrange travel insurance that includes medical cover. AuPairWorld works together with our insurance partner Dr. Walter to provide this type of cover.

Are there new conditions regulating the working hours and pay for au pairs after Brexit?

From the standpoint of AuPairWorld, the new relationship between the EU and the UK that has been implemented in the Brexit deal does not have an impact on the basic concept of cooperative exchange between UK families and young people from foreign countries as outlined in our "Basic concept of au pairing". The official status of the au pair concept in the UK is not clear as there is no dedicated visa for au pairs and no current information is available from the UK government regarding the au pair status. 


We are continually researching and updating relevant information about Brexit for our au pairs and host families, but cannot guarantee that all material provided is complete and correct. And of course, if you notice gaps or inaccuracies, we would like to hear from you.