How to participate in the Au-pair program in Germany: conditions, visas, finding a host family and a nanny
On this page you will find out the main conditions of the Au-pair* program in Germany: what is expected from the host family, what should be the nanny like, how to get a visa and conclude an agreement, contract, and also where to find the host family or nanny in Germany.
§ Information about the Au-pair program in Germany
Au-pair is an intercultural exchange program for young people operating in many countries of the world, including the Federal Republic of Germany, under which young girls and boys from other countries temporarily live in a host family in another country. The young person participating in this program helps the family that has hosted him/ her, minding their children and the work about the house, and as a reward s/he gets accommodation in the house, food and pocket money. The purpose of the program is exploring other countries by the young people, learning a foreign language (in the case in point, German) and, as a result, improving the chances of finding a job in the given country or at home. The Au pair cannot improve the financial position of the program participant, i.e. this program is not equivalent to work, because the pocket money paid by the host family, apparently, will be enough only for the daily living needs, payment for the instruction courses and the cost of travel.
The main terms and conditions of this program are defined in the European Agreement on Au Pair Placement (see the links below on the page) and in the German Regulation on the Employment of Foreigners, §12 (in German: Beschäftigungsverordnung). In particular, it runs as follows:
Regulation on the Employment of Foreigners, §12:
"The Au-pair work permit may be given to persons with the basic knowledge of the German language who are under 27 years of age and who work in a family with German as their native language for a period of up to 1 year".
If the host family speaks German, but it is not the native language of the said family, the young person shall not be from the country that is the birthplace of the said family.
§ Host family in Germany: conditions and requirements
The Au-pair host family shall provide free meals and accommodation for the young person, as well as pocket money and shall partially pay for the travel ticket/ transit pass to attend the German language instruction courses. The family shall pay for the program participant's health insurance and accident insurance. The main responsibilities of the host family are presented in the list below:
The amount of money paid to an Au-pair in the host family in Germany makes
260 euros per month.
- An Au pair can be hosted by a family with at least one child under the age of 18;
- Free Au-pair accommodation in a separate room;
- Free meals;
- Payment of pocket money: 260 euros per month;
- Partial payment for the German language instruction courses (50 euros per month) and the cost of travel to get to the instruction courses;
- Partial fare for exploring the city;
- Insurance for the program participant: medical, accident insurance and, possibly, others;
- Payment of expenses associated with registration in the country;
- Support for participating in cultural events.
§ Au-pair nanny: conditions and requirements
First of all, there are age restrictions for an Au-pair in Germany. For the young people from the EU and EEA countries participating in the program, the age limit is set in the range from 17 to 30 years old; for the young people from other countries that need a visa to enter Germany, the age is limited by the range from 18 to 26 years old. In addition, as of 2019, the following conditions apply:
- Obtaining a visa to participate in the Au-pair program;
- Participation in the program only 1 time;
- Duration of participation from 6 months to 1 year;
- Age range from 18 to 26 years old;
- German language skills at the A1 level;
- Experience of working as a nanny and a housekeeper;
- Self-paid travel to Germany and back;
- Payment for the German language instruction course (partially paid by the host family as well);
- Conclusion of a medical insurance contract in their country;
- Signing a contract with the host family;
- Not be related to the host party.
Duties and rights of an Au-pair in Germany
A young person participating in the Au-pair program lives in their host family; s/he takes care of the children and helps about the house for 30 hours a week. The household assistance includes cleaning, ironing, kitchen help, and other activities. Below are the main tasks and requirements for an Au pair participant:
- Performing simple tasks around the house: cleaning, washing, ironing, kitchen assistance, cooking breakfast, looking after the house and pets care;
- Looking after the children: supervision, walks, seeing to them/ accompanying, games;
- Working as a nanny and housekeeper - no more than 30 hours a week / 6 hours a day;
- 1 completely free day, not necessarily to be Saturday and Sunday; and 4 nights off per week;
- 4 weeks of paid vacation during 1 year of work (or 2 days per a month of work);
- National public holidays shall also be free days for the Au-pair or other free days be provided instead;
- Attending the German language instruction courses;
- Participation in cultural events;
- An Au-pair is not allowed to engage in other labour activities;
It is worth noting that caring for the sick and the elderly are not the Au-pair tasks.
§ Obtaining a visa to participate in the Au-pair program in Germany
Although the young person and the host family can find each other and agree on their own, for the Au-pair to find a job, it is usually required to contact one of the reliable agencies (in German: Au-pair-Agentur) (for example, agencies belonging to the Au-Pair Society e.V. union, or the Verein für Internationale Jugendarbeit Association, or the Gütegemeinschaft Au-pair Community), fill out the questionnaire and prepare a resume, including: a personal history report(CV), a cover letter, and a photo. The agency helps the young person find the right family. Then an agreement is concluded between the host family and the young person.
To obtain an Au-pair visa to enter Germany, you have to contact the German Embassy in the country of residence and apply for a visa. The following documents have to be presented along with the application: an international passport, foreign passport, an agreement(contract) with the host family, a personal history report(CV) and a motivation letter, evidence of the German language knowledge at level A1, medical insurance and, possibly, some other documents.
It is very important to apply for a permit for a long-term stay in Germany; after entering Germany, during the validity of the visa; this permit is issued by the departments of the Foreigners Registration Office (in German: Ausländerbehörde).
In case of problems, including those with the host family, you can contact the agency that has helped in establishing relations with the host family. In case of serious problems, the agency can arrange accommodation and work in another family. Besides, in case of serious problems in Germany, the Au-pair hotline is available by the telephone numbers: 0800-111-0-111 and 0800-111-0-222.
Hotline for the Au-pair participants in Germany 0800-111-0-111 or 0800-111-0-222
Opportunities and prospects for a nanny at the end of the Au-pair
When the 12 months of working as an Au Pair are over, it is impossible to extend a visa and continue to participate in this program. However, the young person can timely apply for a permit to stay in Germany and remain in the country for another reason, for example: taking German language courses, studying at a university, etc., provided the conditions for obtaining such a permit are met (valid passport, place of study, medical insurance, financing, etc.). More information can be obtained on dedicated pages of our website.
§ Contract between the host family and the nanny- housekeeper
The young person participating in the program and the host family shall conclude a contract. An example of such an agreement can be found on the website of the German Labour Agency, see the link below on the page. The contract describes the living conditions in the host family, working hours and tasks, provided free time and days off.
§ Search for a host family in Germany
Young people can find a host family on their own or by contacting an intermediary agency. The German Federal Employment Agency recommends contacting a reliable intermediary agency, that provides information support for the au-pair, takes care of the host family and helps in case of problems. Typically, the services of these agencies for the youth are free-of-charge or limited in cost (150 euros) and are paid only after the conclusion of a contract between the young person and the host family.
In Germany, there are several organizations that help young people come to the country through the au-pair program. The youth organization "Verein für Internationale Jugendarbeit" helps young people take advantage of this program. Below on this page you will find links to the website and consulting centers.
Besides, the "Au-Pair Society e.V." association is a federal union for Au-pair agencies, hosting families and youth. This union was authorized to work by the German Parliament, it includes various agencies that provide support or organize participation in the program.
Another association, the "Gütegemeinschaft Au-pair" Community, was founded in the country under the support of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. This Community includes Au-pair intermediary agencies and guarantees the quality and control of the program participants.
If you are independently searching for a host family, you can use the questionnaire forms on the website of the German Labour Agency/ to take into account all the relevant conditions.
§ Search for a nanny-housekeeper abroad
Host families are usually registered with reliable intermediary agencies to search for nannies and housekeepers through the au-pair program, although they can also search directly. For example, you can use the Au-pair in Germany Ads page on the online newspaper website. When contacting agencies, pay attention to whether they are members of the unions and associations described above on the page.
§ Полезные ссылки на работы в Германии
- German Regulation on the Employment of Foreigners, §12
- Federal Employment Agency of Germany on the Au-pair program: brochures and forms
- Verein für Internationale Jugendarbeit consulting centers
- Au-Pair Society e.V. Federal Union
- Gütegemeinschaft Au pair Community
- The European Committee for Au Pair Standards (ECAPS)
- The International Au Pair Association
- The European Agreement on Au Pair Placement
- The Federal Employment Agency Au Pair sample contract
- Visa information for the Au Pair participants from the Embassy
- Search for Au-pair nannies, housekeepers in Germany
* In this article, should the term Au-pair be spelled au pair, Au Pair, Au-Pair, aupair, Aupair, AUPAIR, it shall mean the same: a helper from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family