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 07/07/2020:
Au Pairs from EU countries can enter the UK without a visa until the end of 2020. However, they must apply for a pre-settlement status before 31.12.2020 to be able to stay in the UK legally.
When applying for the pre-settlement status the candidate will need a proof of identity and a proof of address. It is best to provide a passport and the confirmation of a British bank account.
Please note that there is a difference between the settled and the pre-settled status. You are eligible to apply for the settlement status only if you have lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period. According to the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux the pre-settled status is available when you have lived in the UK for 1 day: "To get pre-settled status, you only need to show you’ve lived in the UK for 1 day out of the last 6 months."
EDIT on 24/04/2020:
As you already know, 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.
If the Au Pair is planning to arrive before the 31st December 2020, he/she may consider to apply for the Pre-settled status. The application, if approved, will allow the Au Pair to get the Settled Status and be able to stay in the UK beyond the 30th June 2021. If the Au Pair doesn’t apply for the Pre-settled status, he/she can stay in the UK until the 30th June 2021.
For 2021 the visa situation might change depending on the agreement that the UK and the EU is now working on. We will keep 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 government 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.
Youth Mobility Scheme - Tier 5: a possible option for the future Au Pairs applying for the UK, if the current scheme will be extended to the EU countries as well. Please, note that this option still has to be approved.
As pointed out by the BAPAA
(British Au Pair Agency Association), this latter option will considerably restrict the applicability of the Au Pair program, due to the maximum number of candidates who could apply and to the general requirements to show, such as the minimum savings. That’s why AuPair.com chose to promote the #SaveAuPairs initiative
. Save Au Pairs proposed a public petition
demanding the UK government to lift the cap of applications and to adjust the requirements for the Tier 5 visa. Click here
to sign the petition if you agree with the proposals and if you want to ensure all the future Au Pairs and Host Families an uncomplicated Au Pair stay 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!