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FAQs

 

We have created some frequently asked questions to help you find the information you need. Please do contact us with any other questions you may have.

For au pairs

Is becoming an au pair the right thing for me?


Do you feel ready to put yourself out of your comfort zone and move abroad, join in life with a new family and meet new people? Do you enjoy taking care of children? Do you want to improve your English (and other language skills, depending on where you go)?

As an au pair you will have lots of positive new experiences, however this will also come with many responsibilities. The host family will rely on you to be the 'adult' in their absence and to take good care of their child/ren.

It is really important that you feel ready to embark on this journey and are prepared for the challenges that you may encounter. Just as in life back home you will have ups and downs throughout your time as an au pair, so it is important you go into it with a positive, can-do attitude - that way you will get the most out of your au pair experience.




Does it cost anything to apply with Swedish Connection?


We offer free placement services in the UK.
You are responsible for the cost of your own flights to and from the UK. We also recommend you obtain an au pair insurance, similar to travel insurance, to cover you whilst you are living in the UK.

We now also offer au pair programmes in other countries. The cost of placements outside of the UK are:
1-3 months: 1,800 SEK
3-12 months: 3,800 SEK

Please read more about what is included in these costs here.




When should I apply?


We have families searching year round. Our most popular arrival times for new au pairs is in September and January. The earlier you apply, the longer time period you will have to interview with families and find the right fit.




How long does it take to find a host family?


This all depends on you, your application and how you connect with the families during the interview. Once we have interviewed you we will begin matching you with suitable families. Then you will have the opportunity to speak with them. The family will be the ones to decide if they would like to offer you the job, then you have the final decision whether to accept or continue your search.




Can I apply with a friend?


Yes, absolutely. We have many families living in similar areas within London, so many au pairs who apply with a friend request to live nearby their friend.




What is the shortest length of time I can apply for?


The longer you apply for, the greater your chance of finding a host family. If you can stay for a school year, or calendar year that is perfect.
Some families need a summer au pair (June-August) so this is a popular time to apply for those who have less time to give.
It takes everyone time to settle into their new life in London. We say it takes at least a month to get to know your host family, meet friends and learn the new routine. The more you put in the more you'll get out!




How many hours will I work and how much free time will I have?


As an au pair you may work up to 35 hours per week, usually Monday to Friday, plus 1 to 2 evenings babysitting per week. Most au pairs work a split shift consisting of a morning shift, free time during the day and then an afternoon shift.

You will have lots of free time to explore London (and beyond) during your free time. You will get 2 full days off per week, usually over the weekend. You are entitled to 4 weeks’ paid holiday for every 12 months spent with the family, with their agreement. You should also have all public holidays off.




How much pocket money can I expect to earn each week?


The amount of pocket money varies depending on the hours you work, and the host family. Generally pocket money starts at £100 per week. Some families will also offer monetary contributions towards travel, mobile phone bills, gym memberships and language courses.




Will I need to babysit for the family?


Families can ask you to babysit up to 2 times per week. This is usually split between a week day and weekend day. Many au pairs will have weekends free and come home on a Saturday evening to babysit.




Do I need any qualifications or previous experience to be an au pair?


You do not need any qualifications to be an au pair. It is beneficial if you have some prior experience caring for children, whether this be from babysitting, coaching, tutoring, volunteering. We will talk about your childcare experience during the interview and match you up with suitable families.




Can I study whilst I am an au pair?


Yes, there are many language schools across London and some au pairs choose to enrol on an English language course to further improve their English. Others spend their spare time studying anything and everything from photography, dance, creative writing, etc.




Do I have to drive a car?


This is not a requirement. We have some families who will need a driver, but the majority don't need this. If you choose a family where you will need to drive and are nervous about driving in the UK, you can let your host family know and they can spend some time with you driving, or provide some lessons to make sure you are able to drive confidently.




What happens if I'm not happy with my host family?


Sometimes things don't work out as planned. If this happens we are here to help you come to a resolution. We recommend speaking with your host family and communicate any issues you have. Sometimes just talking about the problem can lead to a solution. If you decide to leave the family and return home, or would like to change families we recommend you give each other 14 days notice. We are here to help guide and advise you.




Am I still able to come to the UK as an au pair after Brexit?


As a result of Brexit, from 1st January 2021, the UK saw the end of free movement. This means there is currently no longer an official entry route for EU au pairs to the UK. It is hoped that the UK and various EU countries will move to implement individual agreements to promote cultural exchange for young people between the respective countries. Currently, however, these agreements do not yet exist.
We will continue working towards finding a solution which will allow EU au pairs to once again participate in the long standing, successful au pair programme.
You can help the cause by contacting your local MP and signing the petition below: https://saveaupairs.uk/
If you are already an au pair (or hosting an EU au pair), and arrived before 1 January, we advise you apply for Pre-Settled Status to ensure that you are free to travel in and out of the UK without any problems. The application deadline is 30 June 2021.
Whilst the UK is currently no longer an option for many aspiring au pairs, we now offer placements across Europe, Canada, Australia & New Zealand!





For families

How will Brexit affect our au pair search?


How things stand today, we are only able to place au pairs who arrived to the UK before 1 January 2021 and hold their pre-settled status.
There is a big lack of available au pairs in London at the moment.




What is the difference between an au pair, returning au pair and a nanny?


Au Pair An au pair is a young person aged between 18 and 30 who provides childcare assistance in exchange for weekly pocket money and full board and lodgings. Au pairs usually come to England for a cultural exchange and to gain a greater understanding of English. An au pair may work up to 35 hours a week, 5 days a week; plus babysitting 1-2 nights a week. An au pair is not a trained nanny, nor a domestic servant or housekeeper. An au pair should not have sole charge of children under 2 years. Au pairs are entitled to 4 weeks’ paid holiday for every 12 months’ with the family, as well as all public holidays.
Returning au pair A returning au pair is someone who looks after the child or children in the family home, either with sole charge or with a parent present. A returning au pair may only have sole charge of children aged 2 or older. A returning au pair holds no professional childcare qualifications, but has practical experience and a genuine interest in children. They can take responsibility for all duties relating to the children, including cooking, washing and ironing for them, as well as cleaning the children’s bedrooms and playroom.
Nanny

A nanny is somebody who looks after the child or children in the family home. Nannies can have sole charge of babies and children, and take responsibility for all duties relating to the children, including cooking, washing and ironing for them, as well as cleaning the children’s bedrooms and playroom.

A nanny has a formal childcare qualification, for example NNEB, BTEC or ADCE, or is a former au pair with at least 2 years’ experience.




How can my au pair open a UK bank account?


We recommend all au pairs open a British bank account so you can pay your au pair weekly via direct debit. This year many au pairs have been opting for an online bank account over a high street bank as the application process is simpler. Monese, Monzo and Revolut have been recommended to us by both families and au pairs.




What happens if we are not happy with our au pair, or visa versa?


Sometimes things don't work out as planned. If this happens we are here to help you come to a resolution. We recommend speaking with your au pair and communicate any issues you have. Sometimes just talking about the problem can lead to a solution.

The welcome letter you will send to your au pair before s/he arrives states a 14 day notice period, giving both au pair and host family a chance to make alternative arrangements. We offer a free replacement within the first eight weeks.




How can I help my homesick au pair?


Homesickness is common, particularly in the first few weeks, but in most cases it passes quickly as they settle into family life, the new routine and finding friends. Start as you mean to go on - ensure your au pair receives a warm welcome and include your au pair as part of the family. Introduce your au pair to the area - show him/her around and suggest a few places to visit.
We have a fantastic social network for our au pairs which we encourage them to get involved in. If you have friends/neighbours who also have an au pair, please put them in touch. Communicate fully with your au pair throughout the placement - let her/him know if they are doing a great job, or if there are things you'd like her/him to work on. Contact us anytime for further support. We keep in touch with our au pairs throughout their time as an au pair and are always happy to offer extra support and advise for those in need.




Can I still host an EU au pair after Brexit?


As a result of Brexit, from 1st January 2021, the UK saw the end of free movement. This means there is currently no longer an official entry route for EU au pairs to the UK. It is hoped that the UK and various EU countries will move to implement individual agreements to promote cultural exchange for young people between the respective countries. Currently, however, these agreements do not yet exist.
We will continue working towards finding a solution which will allow EU au pairs to once again participate in the long standing, successful au pair programme.
You can help the cause by contacting your local MP and signing the petition below: https://saveaupairs.uk/
If you are already hosting an EU au pair, who arrived before 1 January, we advise they apply for Pre-Settled Status to ensure that they are free to travel in and out of the UK without any problems. The application deadline is 30 June 2021.
We hope to have some better news soon!





For nannies

Can I still become a nanny in the UK post Brexit?


As an au pair and nanny agency specialising in Swedish candidates, we are following the developments in post Brexit, immigration and visas very closely.
Those EU citizens already living in the UK before end of December 2020 have been able to apply for Settled and Pre-Settled status, giving them the right to remain in the UK, with a possibility of staying here indefinitely.
Nannies moving to the UK to work post Brexit, now need a visa. Visas have been revised and the main visa is now the Skilled Worker Visa. Nannies have been recognised as Skilled Workers within a sector where there is currently a skills shortage. This means nannies should be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK. However, the sponsor license needed to employ foreign skilled workers can only be applied for by businesses. Kevin Foster MP, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, confirms that individuals and households cannot be licensed to sponsor workers. So, it is not yet clear how sponsorship is open to private employing families.
Whilst we await clarification from the government on this issue, we remain hopeful that this is a temporary oversight. It is private employers, not companies and organizations, which hire nannies and will need to sponsor nannies' visas.
We hope that in the near future, the process of applying for a Skilled Worker Visa and engaging top bilingual nannies from the EU will become both possible and more straight forward.
We will share any updates ASAP!




What are the costs involved in aquiring a Skilled Worker Visa?


To our understanding, here are the costs involved in applying for the Skilled Worker visa.


When you apply for a Skilled Worker visa, you’ll need to have enough money to:
- pay the application fee. The standard fee ranges from £610 to £1,408 depending on your circumstances - pay the healthcare surcharge - this is usually £624 per year - support yourself when you arrive in the UK - you’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available
You’ll pay a lower application fee if your job is on the shortage occupation list. You’ll be told how much you need to pay when you apply.




What is the UK Immigration Points Based System?


The UK Immigration Points Based System is a specific set of requirements for which applicants will be awarded points and then visas will be granted to those who gain enough points.
The Points-Based System awards points based on the following requirements: · job occupations, · salaries, · ability to speak English · educational attainment.
To apply for a Tier 2 general visa the applicant must meet the following mandatory criteria: · They must have a job offer approved by a licensed sponsor. · The job must be at the appropriate skill level. Nannies are eligible occupations at appropriate skill level. · They must speak English at the required level (AS level or equivalent).
For a Tier 2 visa an applicant must score at least 70 points.
By meeting the mandatory criteria above an applicant will earn 50 points. They must obtain a further 20 ‘tradeable’ points through a combination of points for their salary, a job in a shortage occupation or a relevant PhD. For example if an applicant is applying for a nanny job they will have to be paid the higher of the general salary threshold of £25,600 or the “going rate” for their particular job, and then they will get an extra 20 points. How long you can stay: You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (General) visa for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days.
What you can also do: · work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship · have a second job in certain circumstances · do voluntary work · study as long as it does not interfere with the job you’re sponsored for · travel abroad and return to the UK · bring family members with you
Can I Settle In The UK After Working In The UK? After working continuously in the UK under Tier 2 visa, you may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK after 5 years. There will be final details announced for the Points-Based System later this year and we will also post an update then.
For more information please visit this website here.