Even if you don’t keep up with the news constantly, you will have realized that Europe and the UK are going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment: Brexit happened on 1st February 2020. Therefore, the UK and the European Union are currently discussing the terms of this separation. Everything is still up in the air and, until they both come to a decision, we won’t have any specific information on what this means for the Au Pair program. What we already know is that the transition phase will be until 31st December 2020. After this date, the visa situation might change drastically.
Will Au Pairs from the EU still be able to travel to the UK without a visa
? Will the rules change also for Au Pairs that come from outside the European Union? Let’s try and find out what the consequences of the UK leaving the EU might be!
What is Brexit?
If you have no idea of what I’m talking about, or you are struggling to understand what Brexit means, I will try and explain it briefly. The term ‘Brexit’ stands for ‘British exit’, which is the decision of the UK to leave the European Union, taken through a referendum on June 23rd 2016. Since then, Europe and the UK have worked on an agreement that will determine what the relationship between the two will be after the UK definitely leaves the EU.
What will the consequences of Brexit be?
EDIT on 03/02/2020:
Finally, we have some clarity in the whole Brexit situation. Since February 1st, the UK is not a part of the EU anymore. However, the transition phase will end only at the end of the year. This means, that until the end of 2020, nothing will change for Au Pairs and Host Families. However, for 2021 the visa situation might change depending on the agreement that the UK and the EU is now working on. We will kepp you updated whenever there are official changes which are confirmed by the British government and the EU.
No one is 100% sure yet, but Brexit will definitely bring about changes on the relationship between the EU countries and the United Kingdom. One of these changes will concern the freedom of movement, which has strictly to do with the Au Pair program. Indeed, the UK has always been one of the main destinations for Au Pairs across the world, but especially from Europe. The fact that European Au Pairs could travel and spend their Au Pair stay in the UK without needing a visa was a big factor in making this country so popular.
But now, since the laws might change slightly, European Au Pairs will need to take into consideration that it might not be that easy to travel to the UK and stay for their Au Pairing purposes. The conditions will vary depending on whether the two parties will have an agreement
or not. This agreement will most likely facilitate all the relationships, including travel-related ones. But it is important to be prepared on the chance of a no deal situation
Since the governement hasn’t issued any specific information about the Au Pair program, we have compiled a few possible scenarios that could happen:
no need for a visa: this is the most optimistic option and will probably happen in the case of a deal.
a special visa for Au Pairs: some countries, such as Germany, already have a special type of visa which is specifically for Au Pairs that come from non-EU countries. This allows them to spend time in the Host Country taking part in a cultural exchange while also earning money legally.
a student visa: right now, non-EU Au Pairs need to apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa in order to enter the UK. This might also become an option for EU citizens that want to take part in the Au Pair program in the UK.
a working holiday visa: this other type of visa is used by many countries already, for instance Australia and Canada. It allows young people to travel to these countries while giving them the possibility to work and earn some money.
a standard work permit: although this seems very unlikely, it might be possible that the Au Pair program will not be considered a cultural exchange. If this is the case, you might need to apply for a standard work permit in order to be able to participate in the program in the UK.
Besides travelling there, it is important to understand that, Brexit might also have repercussion on the insurance
. Au Pairs will probably have to purchase a private insurance, for healthcare, liability, etc.
Remember that everything is still uncertain. It will all become clearer when the separation actually takes place and the governments will issue official regulations. For now, we can only try to understand the possible consequences and get ready for the future changes!