Au pairs

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Updated: 4/18/2007 9:11 am Published: 4/18/2007 9:11 am

Au pairs (oh-pares) are childcare providers visiting a country temporarily. An au pair provides childcare and light house work for a host family. The phrase 'au pair' means 'on even terms,' so an au pair is considered part of the family, and is included in meals, holiday celebrations, and family outings. Males and females of any age can be au pairs, but most are young women. Host families provide these young women room and board, a weekly allowance, and an opportunity to learn a new language. The au pair's stay in the U-S is strictly regulated by Immigration Services. These regulations specify that au pairs must stay for no longer than a year, have to be enrolled in a minimum amount of advanced education which is partially paid for by the host family, and be paid a minimum weekly amount of pocket money. The easiest way to find one is to contact an international au pair agency. As a host family, you can expect to pay an application fee and a matching fee. The total cost for this process may be one thousand dollars or more. Reputable agencies will perform a background check on the au pair, and obtain personal recommendations, too.

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