FAST FACTS: Filipino au pairs around the world
MANILA, Philippines – The opportunity is enticing to any young Filipino who dreams of setting foot on the other side of the world.
The au pair program, popular across Europe, allows young people to learn a new language and culture by living with a host family in exchange for light household chores.
While promoted as a cultural exchange scheme, it has often been mistakenly equated with the domestic worker program.
Filipinos have been participating in the program since the 1990s. A total of 5,209 Filipinos have registered for the program in 2013, many of them in Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands.
What is an au pair?
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) describes a Filipino au pair as:
- a young Filipino citizen, between 18 to 30 years of age;
- unmarried and without any children;
- placed under a cultural exchange arrangement with a European/American host family for a maximum stay of two years.
"Au pair" means "on a par" or "equal to" in French. Participants are intended to be treated as an equal member of the family to improve their cultural knowledge, in exchange for light household chores.
According to the European Agreement on au pair placement, au pairs are placed in a special category, as they are neither classified as students nor workers.
Are you qualified to become an au pair?* Specific requirements vary from country to country, but these are the general requirements:
- Must be at least 18 years old and below 30 years of age
- Must be single with no children
- Must know English
- Must not be related to any member of the host family
Au pair’s rights and responsibilities
- Entitled to his/her own bedroom in the family’s home
- Must be provided free food and lodging
- Must be given a minimum monthly allowance
- Denmark: DKK 3,250 (P25,425.54)
- Norway: NOK 5400 (P38,293.86), plus a minimum of NOK 8100 (P57,418.57) for Norwegian course and study materials
- Netherlands: 300-340 euro (P17,494.02 - P19,826.56)
- Must render light household chores for a maximum of 30 hours a week
- Entitled to at least one full day off every week (at least two days off for au pairs in the Netherlands)
- Given time off to pursue language courses and cultural interests
- Must be provided insurance by the host
- Has the right to terminate the contract with a two weeks’ notice
- Au pairs cannot be made to do any work for other people
- Au pairs cannot work for host family beyond maximum working hours
- Au pairs cannot render sick care for adult family members
Generally, the host family pays for almost everything: travel and insurance costs, visa fees, pocket money, and language tuition fees, among others.
The au pair pays for her passport and other costs not listed in the host family’s payment responsibilities.
In the Netherlands, au pair applicants must go through an au pair agency. Applicants must pay no more than € 34, exclusive of travel and visa expenses.
Filipino au pairs must process their applications with the CFO. Attending the country familiarization seminar (CFS) is a requirement before travel.
Visit these websites for detailed guidelines and requirements:
- Denmark au pair guidelines
- Norway au pair guidelines
- Netherlands au pair guidelines
- Commission on Filipinos Overseas
Filipinos make up a sizable portion of the au pair population in several European countries.
The map below shows the top countries of destination for Filipino au pairs.
Source: Commission on Filipinos Overseas
Infographic by Jessica Lazaro