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Homeshare (Live-in help) - how does it work

The Homeshare/Live-in program gives young people the opportunity to live abroad at no cost, while supporting an elder with daily life tasks.
live-in help, homeshare

What does Homeshare mean?

Homeshare literally means “sharing the same house” and it is the exchange of housing for help in the home. This type of agreement is typically done between an older householder and a younger person who can support in daily tasks and live in the house for free.

What is a Live-in help?

A Live-in help is usually a young person who lives with a senior in exchange for a little help in everyday life. For each m² of living space the senior offers, the participant helps for one hour per month. So when the provided room is 20m² for example, he or she would help out 20 hours per month. Please note that this is usually a private stay and not a volunteer project regulated by the government (FSJ, Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr in Germany).

Free Registration as Family

Are the Homeshare and the Live-in program the same?

Regardless of how you want to name it, the concept behind this type of arrangement is the same. In both cases the older person gets to see someone they can talk to and spend time with, and receive support with small daily tasks. The younger person has the opportunity to live in a house without paying rent, or at a very low cost, while having that feeling of family at home.

Who is the person who hosts a Live-in help?

There are many people who would wish for a little help in their everyday life. Sometimes the shopping bags are just too heavy, the thing on the shelf is too difficult to reach or one would just like to talk to someone and feel less lonely. In this case the Live-in help is the ideal option because she or he acts like a helper. People who host a Live-in help should be able to live independently though. A Live-in help cannot replace the aid of a professional caregiver. 

Free Registration as Candidate

How does the Homeshare program work?

On the senior and the Live-in help can find each other. After a few video interviews both sides should agree on the terms of the program. It is recommended to sign an agreement to avoid any misunderstandings. After that, the Live-in help would move in with the senior and help him or her out when needed.

How long can the Live-in help stay?

This depends on the nationality and the visa status of the candidate. In case the applicants does not need a visa to live in the senior’s home country, he or she can basically stay as long as he/she wants. Whenever a visa is issued, the duration of the stay depend on the visa.

How can a person become a Live-in help?

To become a Live-in help, you need to register and create a profile on and find your match. If you already have an account you DO NOT NEED to create a new profile. Once you are logged in, you can just check the option "Live-in help" in your search criteria and you will be automatically considered for this option as well.

Apart from that, there are some requirements to be qualified for this job:
  • being eligible to live in the country without a visa (this could be also your own country)
  • alternatively: being eligible to receive a visa which makes the stay legal
  • being willing to help a senior with household duties and be patient
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Is there an age limit?

In general, there is no age limit for this program. However, most people are quite young and do not have a family on their own yet. Often, students who want to live in a certain country but struggle to find affordable living space are interested in this program. Also, if you are looking for a job in a certain country and want to live there during your job search, this could be a great option for you. Please note, that you would need to be able to live in the country without visa problems or that it can be your own country.

What are the duties of a Live-in help?

The duties of a Live-in help are helping out in everyday life and being good company. So, you would help with cooking and light household chores, assist in shopping and gardening and maybe spend some time just talking or playing board games with your host. Important: a Live-in help does not carry out any professional caregiver tasks. That means that washing and dressing is not part of the deal. 

What are the conditions of the program?

The conditions are the following: free living space in exchange for help. Please note that the Live-in help does usually not get any pocket money or salary since this is not a proper employment. However, both sides should sign an agreement to make sure that they are on the same page regarding the program. 

What are the working hours?

The working hours depend on the living space the senior is offering. So if your room is 10m², you would help 10 hours per month. 

Is there any salary?

Usually, there is no salary included in the program as it is not a proper employment. The Live-in help program is a chance to live abroad or in another part of your home country at very low costs and help out another individual. Please note that this is not a job or an employment and does not include any payment from the host’s side. However, if both parties agree on more assistance, which will be compensated in monetary terms, please remember that taxes and social security contributions have to be paid and a special visa will be required.


In this project, there are different situations which require different solutions for paying taxes. Mostly it is about the status of the agreement. If the agreement is seen as a working relation and the candidate works for not paying rent, both of them will need to pay taxes. In case the relationship would be recognized as a volunteer work, the tax office needs to check every individual case. In any case, we always recommend to speak to your tax consultant about your plans to make sure that everything is legal. 

Are Live-in help participants entitled to free time and holidays?

No. The Live-in help position is not a proper employment but a chance to live abroad or in another place of the country almost for free. Since we are not talking about an employment, the candidate is not legally entitled to have holidays. On the other hand, the applicants only help a few hours per week. So, there is no reasons to worry about your freetime. 

Who should pay for the travel expenses?

The Live-in help should pay for the travel expenses. If a visa is needed and granted, the candidate should pay for it as well.

What kind of visa should be issued?

We highly recommend this program to people who do not need a visa to live in the host’s country. For example, if you are an EU citizen and want to live in another EU country, the program can offer you a perfect chance to move at very low costs. However, if you need a visa to enter the country or live there for a longer period, it could be difficult to choose the right visa. In most cases you would need a working contract in order to receive a work permit. That means that this options is only for those who have already found a job in the desired country and are just looking for an affordable room.

If you apply for a tourist visa you can stay up to three months in most countries but please note that you may not accept a job offer during this time since it is not legal to earn money while staying with a tourist visa. But there is the option to look for a job while being a tourist and then later to apply for a work permit. Important: you will need to go back home, and apply for a work permit in your home country. It is not possible to simply “change” your visa status. Also, many seniors would like to host someone for a longer period than three months. Please understand that it can be hard to find a match if you want to enter the country with a tourist visa so we do not recommend it.

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Do Live-in help candidates have to attend a language course? 

Since the Live-in help program is not regulated by the government, there are no official rules to it. That means, that applying for a language course is optional. Of course you can use your free time to attend a course. But you will have to pay for it yourself. 

Live-in help agreement

There is no official document that you can use as a template for the stay since the program is not regulated by the government. You could use any kind of contract template though. Additionally, the contract is not mandatory but we recommend to have one just to make sure that everything is clear between the host and the candidate. offers an agreement template which you can also use for the Live-in help agreement. You can download it for free here

Insurance as a Live-in help

In case of traveling from one country to another, it is always best to make sure that you are insured. In case of illness, accident or other unpredictable issues you should take care of a proper insurance. Those are private in general. If you are wondering which insurance company to choose you can either contact our partner agency Dr. Walter who is specialized on people traveling the world or select any other private insurance company that you feel is serious and offers good conditions. 

What are the differences between a Live-in help and an Au Pair?

The differences between an Au Pair and a Live-in help are huge even though both programs have a lot in common. In both cases you mind an individual who needs help in certain tasks. But the Au Pair program is an official program regulated by the government in many countries whereas the Live-in help program is not. In contrast to the Au Pair program, the Live-in help program is a private agreement. Moreover, there is not anything like a Live-in help visa whereas there are Au Pair visa in many countries. The most striking difference might be the target group: as an Au Pair you take care of children and live with a respectively young Host Family. You work 20-30 hours per week and receive a monthly pocket money. A Live-in help lives with a senior and helps out. He/ she helps only for a few hours per week depending on the size of the room and does not receive any payment.

What are the differences between a Live-in help/ Homeshare  and a Senior Caregiver?

There are also a lot of differences between a Live-in help and a Senior Caregiver. As a Senior Caregiver you are officially employed, receive at least minimum wage and pay taxes. You can work part or full time depending on the needs of the senior. As a Live-in help you are not employed but just live with the host and help him or her. You do not receive any salary so there is no income tax to be paid. Nonetheless, both programs are very similar when it comes to the tasks. Both Live-in help and Senior Caregiver only carry out assisting tasks such as helping with cooking, light household course, yardening or shopping. They do not need to have a professional qualification as a nurse since they do not need to carry out tasks like washing, dressing or feeding the senior. 

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