au pair

Brexit: what are the consequences for the Au Pair program?

by ElenaReading time: 10 min.
Brexit: what are the consequences for the Au Pair program?
EDIT ON 25/06/2021

Sign the Youth Visa petition and support the opening for Au Pairs in the UK

The doors for the Au Pair exchange between young European Union citizens and the UK are still closed. Since there is no news from both governments, decided to share a petition from an international group of au pair organizations' representatives. The petition, published on, demands the creation of a Youth Visa, valid for Au Pairs and young people from the European Union who have the desire to live a cultural exchange experience in the UK.

We kindly ask our community to sign the petition, even if you are not interested in going to the UK. A signature can help many Au Pairs to fulfil their dream.

EDIT on 12/05/2021:

The UK is very unlikely to introduce an Au Pair visa. Basically, the UK relies on bilateral national visas. The EU, on the other hand, is striving to create a uniform visa for all EU citizens, which is why the negotiations have failed so far. Citizens from (a few) specific countries can still apply for the T5 Mobility Scheme. EU citizens currently have no possibility to officially enter the UK as an Au Pair. The only two options are the Student Visa, where the candidate has to take a course and is only allowed to work on a limited basis, or a Short-term Study Visa, where the candidate takes a language course for more than 6 months but is not allowed to earn any money during that time. We strongly advise against entering the UK as a tourist when seeking to become an Au Pair. This would be illegal and can lead to serious consequences.

The UK government website helps with detailed questions:

Student Visa
- Short-term Student Visa

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 th e 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." 
We advise you to check the government’s website regularly. 

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 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!

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Some Thoughts...
Aug, 14, 2020 - 10:08 am
Seria importante conseguir el National insurance number? Y como se obtiene?
, | Aug, 19, 2020 - 09:08 am
Estimada Maria,
Gracias por tu comentario. Lo primero que hacer es solicitar el Pre-settled status para obtener el Settled Status y permanecer en el Reino Unido más allá del 30 de junio de 2021. Por lo que concierne el seguro, puedes encontrar todas las informaciones en el sitio del gobierno ingles:
Dec, 31, 2020 - 10:12 am
Limiting people to move through the world is barbarism unsuitable of the developed country civility standard which costs our nation centuries of fighting for freedom and access to individual's development/education.
Feb, 07, 2021 - 08:02 pm
En mi caso estuve de au pair en Oxford durante el verano, pero por motivos académicos volví a España en Septiembre. ¿Tengo derecho a solicitar el Pre-settlement Scheme si quisiera volver a ser au pair a partir de junio de 2021? Entiendo que si porque he vivido allí y automáticamente se genera el derecho no? Gracias!
Rivas, | Feb, 09, 2021 - 07:02 am
Hola Umaima :-)

Deberías poder hacerlo, sin embargo te recomendamos preguntar directamente en la embajada. La medida es tan reciente que aún no contamos con información oficial al respecto.

Coméntanos cómo te fue :-)
Jun, 30, 2021 - 10:06 am
In my own opinion, there should also be a petition to allow Africans participate in aupair program. Because we are all humans...
, | Jul, 01, 2021 - 08:07 am
Hello Salamatu,
Thank you for your comment. For Africans and Au Pairs from non-EU nationalities, Brexit has no consequences. It's still possible to apply for a student visa:
Nov, 09, 2022 - 06:11 am
Hola, me interesa viajar a Reino Unido y vivir esta experiencia de ser Au Pair. Me pueden ayudar con la información.
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