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The au pair program is a government-related program and many questions can come to mind. It is important that you are well informed. With over 12 years of experience, we can always be of service in case of questions.

Au pair program

Many things can come to mind in the au pair program. Below you will find an overview of the most common questions and corresponding answers.

Au Pair

Bank account

May the au pair open a bankaccount him/herself, or should the host family do that?
Nowadays the au pair receives a citizen service number with which they can open a bank account themselves. We advise the host family to help the au pair getting one.

Alternatives:

Open a bank account in the name of the family at a bank where you do not do business yourself, that bank account cannot have credit facilities. Give the debit card to the au pair and you are ready. At the end of the term, the au pair clears the account and the bank card can be given to the next au pair.

You can also agree that you, as a host family, take the money into custody (keep track and write down) and when the au pair needs money, ask you. Use a cash box and a monthly sign-off list.

Part-time job

The au pair is part of the cultural exchange program and the host family. In return for pocket money and lodging the au pair takes care of the children and performs light household chores. Besides, the au pair received a visa based on these conditions. If the au pair decided to get a part-time job, he/she will have to start paying taxes and request a new visa as a result; the working visa. The au pair cannot have a part-time job, nor other income beside the pocket money as an au pair.

Language course

Can my au pair follow a language course?

The au pair may choose which course he/she follows. The au pair can negotiate this with the host family. Our personal preference is the Dutch course as most host families communicate in Dutch with each other. We understand that the host family/au pair would like to follow a different course when the au pair already speaks Dutch/Afrikaans.

Conflicts

Conflict

What if the au pair makes a mention of a conflict between the him/her and the host family?

We have a separate department for au pair support and this department keeps an eye on the status of the au pairs. As soon as we receive a mention of the au pair that something is wrong between him/her and the host family, our au pair support contacts the au pair. If the au pair tells us that there is a conflict whereby the law is broken (e.g. excess of working hours, family in divorce etc.), we will directly contact the client. As soon as we learn that the law is being broken, the consequences may be that the au pair is taken away from the host family. However, we advise the au pair to always talk to the host family first to tell them what’s bothering him/her. If no law is being broken, there is no reason to approach the host family and we try to soothe the au pair. And of course the host family may always contact us if something is not right between them and the au pair. We will always listen and advise either parties, which support will be given by the contact person who is responsible for the client.

Ensuring quality

How do I avoid problems and ensure it will be a good year?

It is crucial to guide your au pair well the first two weeks of her stay. The key is communication! Negotiate expectations, house rules, responsibilities and tasks more elaborately. Please keep in mind that the au pair is new in the country and does not know the people and culture yet in most cases. Homesickness may be the case when the au pair doesn’t feel understood and respected. The au pair has time to get used to the country. Enable the au pair to build a social network with peers and other au pairs. Let her go out, visit museums, or let him/her visit Dutch or Belgian festivities. Be open to each other, au pairs and host families can teach each other lots of new things! And last but not least, please do not forget that the au pair is not a professional nanny and that he/she is helping you and your family within the context of a cultural exchange programme.

Mismatch

What happens if there’s no connection with the au pair?
Despite the thoughtful selection and guidance of Au Pair Online it may occur that there’s no connection between the host family and the au pair. Au Pair Online is never responsible/liable in these cases. We guide the host family as well as the au pair with the placement of a new au pair and a new host family.

We will not refund your money if there is no connection between you and the au pair. You will get one month to receive a free mediation. The money for the fligth etc. will not be refunded as well. Exceptions must be negotiated with our support.

Unexpected departure

What if the au pair runs away from the family?

1. Contact host family | Depending on whom sends this message (host family/ au pair). We will contact the host family to listen to the situation. Inform the family that the au pair must be deleted from the municipality.

2. Contact au pair | Depending on whom sends this message ( host family/ au pair), we will contact the au pair as to his/her whereabouts and where he/she stays. Subsequently, we must inform the IND. In case we know a temporary address, we must also report this. In case the situation got out of hand badly, and we cannot find a replacement host family, then we must delete her at the IND and book her flight back.

Essential

Household chores

The au pairs may perform light household chores. Below you can see the description of these household chores:

•Washing dishes
•Loading and unloading the dishwasher
•Preparing simple meals
•Keeping the kitchen in order and general tidying up
•Shopping for light groceries
•Loading laundry into the washing machine
•Packing away laundry/clothes
•Ironing
•Tidying and cleaning of children’s room(s)
•Tidying and cleaning of own room(s)
•Tidying and cleaning in general
•Vacuuming
•Dusting
•Keeping floors clean
•Taking out garbage but only on the ground floor
•Walking and feeding pets
•Watering plants and taking care of plants/flowers
•Making and changing beds

Income

Are there any demands regarding my income?

Yes, the host family must have sufficient financial capacity to host an au pair. You must evince that your salary is independent, sustainable (min. 1 year) and sufficient. The IND has established the required amounts.

Click here for the attachment.

Cost compensation

Are the costs compensated by the government?

No, an au pair is a cultural exchange programme and not a recognized type of child care. For that reason you cannot deduct the costs as child care.

Working hours

An au pair may not work longer than 8 hours a day, and not longer than 30 hours a week. Besides that the au pair has at least two free days per week. We advise the host family to create a week schedule in advance, to avoid trouble concerning the working hours.

Pocket money

The au pair has the right to receive 300 to 340 euros per month from the host family. At Smiling Faces, all au pairs receive 320 euros of pocket money per month which is also signed for in the ‘Agreement’.

Room

Au Pair's room

What should the au pair room look like?

The au pair lives with the host family whom offer an independent room of at least 12 m2, with a window that can be opened. The room is provided along with a bed, table and a chair, a computer or laptop with access to the internet, and a TV and/or radio.

Bathroom

The au pair has the right to make use of a bathroom with a lock. This can be a separate bathroom or one that can be shared with the rest of the host family.

No extra room

We don’t have an extra room in our house. May the au pair stay at the grand parents’ place whom live around the corner or can we rent a place for her?

No, that is not possible. The au pair must live at the same address as the host family. This is to make sure that the cultural exchange is optimized and for her to become part of the host family.

Program

Sharing

May I share an au pair with another host family?

No, this is not possible. In The Netherlands it is forbidden for the au pair to work apart from the host family. However, a ‘flex nanny’ can be shared with someone else.

Process

How long does it take to get the au pair here?

The process takes two to three months on average, but this differs per situation. Smiling Faces Au Pairs manages the code of conduct of BONAPA and that is why we make an appointment with the interested host family to visit their house and talk about the au pair program and their preferences.

When the assignment is placed at Smiling Faces, we look for a suitable au pair. This takes a few weeks, this is also depending on the flexibility of the family. We propose a few au pairs and the families have to make a choice.

When the au pair is chosen, the MVV process starts. The duration of this process can also vary considerably in time, as there are different rules for the evidence of income.

It also depends on how quickly the family has collected all the pieces. When we have all the documents, it takes about a week to prepare everything and send it to the IND. Sometimes the application is not fully approved and things have to be sent afterwards. (eg new payslips or another employment contract)

When everything is approved it takes about 2-3 weeks before we receive the approval. About 2 weeks after payment of the fee, an appointment can be made for an interview at the Dutch embassy in the country of the au pair. After this interview it will take another week until the au pair actually has her MVV in her passport.

When the au pair has her MVV, the family / Smiling Faces can book a ticket for the au pair.

Read more about the entire process

Maximum period of stay

Can the au pair stay for more than a year?

No, the residence permit is only valid for 1 year. Also, all au pairs have a one year return ticket and should return to their homeland within one year.

When the au pair wishes to stay longer, she will need a work permit. We do not handle such requests at Au Pair Online, thus we cannot help or advise you with this.

Period of stay

An au pair in The Netherlands may not stay longer than 12 months.

Early departure

What must be done when the au pair departs earlier?

Sometimes the au pairs quit the au pair programme earlier to go home due to personal/privacy reasons. Hereby the decision must be made with the host family, meaning they have to come to an agreement together. The same procedure must be followed as with a normal departure of an au pair after 1 year. This consists of converting the return ticket of an au pair, pointing out that the au pair must be removed from the GBA, and inform the IND about the departure of the au pair.

Travel

Flight ticket

Who pays the flight ticket?

The host family pays the full amount of the ticket including alteration costs.

Booking flight in advance

Why can you not book a flight one year in advance?

This is dependent on the system of airline companies. They can only see until a maximum of 10 months ahead.

Validity of flight ticket

How long is a one-year ticket valid?

As the name indicates, the ticket is valid for one year.

Health insurance

Who is responsible for the health insurance of the au pair?

The host family is responsible for taking out a health insurance and paying the premium. This should be handled before arrival. After registration you automatically receive information about the ISIS Au Pair insurance, which is specifically made for au pairs in The Netherlands. Au Pair Online takes out an health insurance with JOHO.

Cooperation & Privacy

House rules

The au pair may choose which course he/she follows. The au pair can negotiate this with the host family. Our personal preference is the Dutch course as most host families communicate in Dutch with each other. We understand that the host family/au pair would like to follow a different course when the au pair already speaks Dutch/Afrikaans.

Do I get standard house rules?

U receive the house rules via email from Smiling Faces Au Pairs. We advise you to discuss these rules with your au pair and to alter them to your situation.

What do I do when my au pair continuously violates the house rules?

We advise you to talk to her and to make her clear that there are rules she has to live by. When the cooperation really does not work, see mismatch.

Visa

Birth certificate

Why does our au pair need a ‘Legalized’ birth certificate?

The au pair needs his/her legalized birth certificate for registration at the local authorities. Every au pair has beeninformed by the agent abroad or bij SF itself that he/she needs a legalised birth cerificate.

How will the documents of the au pair be legalized?

On the website of Minbuza you can find information about the legalization of Dutch certificates for use when you are abroad, and you can find information about inquiring foreign certificates.

Registering EU au pair with an agency

For au pairs from the EU, no MVV (temporary resident permit) is needed. In this case there’s a separate Registration & Administration module and the costs are:

We do not need to screen the au pair in this case, but we do need to apply for TEV (entry & residence). This request will not be submitted to the IND.

Note: if the au pair is from a non-EU country, but from Europe, then the au pair does need a visa and residence permit. In this case we handle the Screening & Visa module.

Local authorities

How and why must our au pair register at the local authority/municipality?

The au pair must register at the local authority with the same address of the host family after the au pair picks up the residence permit at the IND.

My previous au pair is still in the BRP, is this a problem?

Firstly, this Dutch abbreviation ‘BRP’ stands for Municipal Personal Records Database. To answer the question, this should not be a problem as long as he/she is still lodging. If the au pair returned back to homeland, you are advised to delete the au pair from the BRP..

Tuberculosis declaration

Why must an au pair be tested twice on TB?

This works in conformity with the IND procedure. The first test is in the homeland to present a healthy au pair to the host family. The second test is to avoid him/her getting ill and being sent back home which will cost a lot of money.

Where can I have my au pair do a TB test?

For a TB test you will have to make an appointment at the local GGD (Area Health Authority). On the website of the GGD you will find more information and the phone number and contact information of your local GGD.

What if my au pair has a residence permit in a EU country but a non-EU country as nationality?

The passport of the au pair is always important. He/she may have a passport from Albania but a residence permit in Italy, in that case the au pair is still in need of a visa and residence permit. If the residence permit is for an unspecified period, then he/she has the ability to get a visa from the Dutch embassy in Italy.

Why do au pairs need a residence permit when they are from outside of the EU?

For every au pair you need a special residence permit for a specified period from the authorities. The residence permit is valid for a maximum of one year. This expires automatically at the IND after the period.

Who applies for the enty visa?

Since the new law, introduced on the 1st of June 2013, all au pairs are bound to be registered with a recognized au pair agency in The Netherlands. This also counts for the visa request. Au Pair Online has a lot of experience with requesting such documents and permits with the IND and authorities. Also, the IND handles requests of recognized au pair agencies within 10 working days.

To which countries may the au pairs travel when they receive an MVV or residence permit?

Au pairs may only travel to all Schengen countries. Click here to visit the website of the European Commission to see the list of the countries.

Free time

Holidays payment

How long will the au pair receive pay for holidays?

The au pair has the right to two weeks of paid holidays. Holidays are agreed on upon negotiation with the host family. The two weeks of holidays take place after at least 6 months of stay at the host family’s place.

Day off during a holiday

Do au pairs get a day off on a holiday?

An au pair participates in a cultural exchange program, not a working program. The participation in the daily activities is primarily the motivation of stay, part of that is that the au pair becomes part of the host family. If the host family planned something for that day and the au pair is being counted on, then there’s no reason for the au pair to not be with the host family that day.

A public holiday, the same as a weekend day, should therefore be filled in by the au pairs if there is reason to do so, after all, some families also have to work just like people in health care, catering, drivers, etc.

Note: King’s Day is of course a special day where an au pair should have the opportunity to celebrate this day with us. This can be done in a family setting but also with friends.

Always discuss the national holidays in advance so that the au pair knows what is expected of her. It is very nice to celebrate December 5 is with the au pair, Christmas (if the family does not go on holiday). If if one does not celebrate Easter and / or Pentecost and has a long weekend free itself, then it of course is a great opportunity for the au pair to use these days to explore the Netherlands or a neighboring country for a few days.

Make good agreements with each other and tell what is expected.

Free time

What does the au pair do in his/her free time?

An au pair has the right to two free days per week and one free weekend per month. The au pair will use this free time to follow a course, meet new people and to e.g. exercise. Au Pair Online gives the au pair a list with phone numbers of all our au pairs. That way the au pair can easily meet new people.