Hire an Au Pair through a Government-Sponsored Organization
Hiring an au pair through a government organization has its benefits. First, the organization must comply with the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 22, Section 62.31, which addresses au pairs. Foreign nationals between the ages of 18–26 are allowed to live with a host American family under the program. They can stay for up to 12 months with an additional 6-, 9- or 12-month extension possible.
Most of the organizations hire local coordinators to ensure the following guidelines are followed:
Providing the au pair with mandatory child development and safety education.
Requiring that au pairs participate in the program for only 12 months unless they are legally extended.
Ensuring that everyone involved in the agency, including officers, employees, volunteers, and agents are appropriately trained and adequately supervised.
Requiring that a local organizational representative is no more than a one-hour drive away from the host family.
Making sure that the local representative can act on the sponsor’s behalf.
Requiring that a monthly record of all personal contacts with each au pair and the host family is maintained by the local representative.
Ensuring that host families, au pairs and the local representatives meet at least two times a month after the placement has been made.
Ensuring that the local representative make available all support services to the au pair and host family that are required.
Government sponsored organizations
The following 14 sponsoring au pair agencies are designated by the U.S. State Department to administer the au pair program:
A.P.EX. American Professional Exchange (ProAuPair)
American Cultural Exchange (Go Au Pair)
American Institute for Foreign Study (Au Pair in America)
EF Education (Cultural Care)
EurAuPair Intercultural Child Care Programs
Expert Group International (Expert AuPair)
InterExchange Au Pair USA
International Au Pair Exchange
Costs for hiring au pairs through an organization
To work through these agencies to hire an au pair, the host family typically will pay from $5,500 to $7,200. The actual amount paid depends on the agency used and the services that they cover, which include
Fees associated to comply with the regulations set forth by the U.S. State Department.
Airfare and arrival fees for the au pair.
The mandatory 32-hour child development and safety education program.
Fees that might be associated to the agency an au pair uses in her home country, if she did not apply directly to the U.S. agency.
Reasons why you shouldn’t hire an au pair without an agency
First and foremost, hiring an au pair in the United States without an agency is illegal. You might be able to bring over a young, foreign woman on a tourist visa, but paying for them is illegal.
The $5,000–$7,000 fee might seem steep, but consider what that agency does for you:
Criminal background checks. You sure wouldn’t want to try to do this activity internationally.
Recruitment and interviews. The time to coordinate this internationally would be a nightmare. The agency provides several prescreened candidates from which you can choose the right one for you.
Travel arrangements. Imagine trying to obtain the necessary passport and visa documents as well as all of the travel from her home country to the states and back again.
Medical insurance. Yes, that’s right. Your au pair might get injured, and you might be obligated to pay out of your pocket any medical expenses. The moral obligation you would suffer would be great should you choose not to pay for the young woman.
Purchasing a plan to cover the time the au pair is with you could end up being cost prohibitive, and you risk not having the same amount of coverage that a sponsoring agency could provide.
Firing the au pair. If the au pair just doesn’t work out for any reason, the agency will take care of replacing her.
Local support. The sponsoring agency provides a local support for your au pair. This support is not only there to meet the needs of the au pair, but also to ensure that the host family questions and needs are met, too.
So, by the time you add up all of the activities you would need to perform to hire a foreign au pair, the fees are well spent with a sponsoring agency. Since there are 14 to choose from, do your homework and choose the one that meets your requirements.