October 2014, BAPAA were invited to attend a breakfast briefing at Birkbeck University where Dr Rosie Cox and Dr Nicole Busch presented their findings of a recently completed research project on Au Pairing, migration and childcare in the UK.
Following this launch of findings, Au Pairing in the UK has come under the public spotlight with negative articles in National Newspapers and radio show discussions.
The #aupairproject research has especially highlighted the dangers for both Au Pairs and host families using Internet only platforms where there is no self-regulation at all. Using an Internet matching site there is no agency to mediate and oversee an Au Pair placement ensuring the rules of the Cultural Exchange.are followed. There is no support on offer to the Au Pair or to the host family, no benefits for the Au Pair or for the host family, no emergency helpline or agency number to call if the Au Pair or host family are having problems and in need of assistance.
We are grateful to both Dr Cox & Dr Busch for exposing these findings as it really does reinforce BAPAA s ongoing concerns relating to the internet recruitment of Au Pairs.
BAPAA was formed on a non-commercial basis in 2003 by the British Members of the International Au Pair Association (IAPA) with the purpose of setting standards for the Au Pair Industry and protecting the Au Pair experience as a rewarding Cultural Exchange Programme in the U.K. IAPA has more than 170 member organisations in 45 countries worldwide who are all required to adhere to strict guidelines ensuring a safe and worthwhile experience for Au Pairs in whichever country they choose for their stay.We are the only recognised Trade Association for the British Au Pair Industry.
BAPAA have very clear guidelines and codes of conduct for Au Pairs, Host Families and Agencies. The findings of the research and particularly the examples of exploitation described are not in keeping with the quality that BAPAA requires of its member agencies when they make UK wide Au Pair placements - www.bapaa.org.uk
We strive to maintain a good quality Cultural Exchange Programme on Au Pair placements in the UK under this scheme. There are 30 member agencies of BAPAA who arrange Au Pair placements here in the UK and all provide support to both the Au Pair and to the host family.
Since the deregulation of the Au Pair visa in November 2008, BAPAA, on a number of occasions, have met with the Department of BIS Business, Innovation and Skills.
As a result of our meetings with them, together we were able to define the Au Pair Cultural Exchange Programme and assisted with the wording that defines what an Au Pair is. The definition of what an Au Pair is has been on the www.gov.uk website since 2010. In June of this year, the page was updated and refreshed.
Many Host Families rely upon Au Pairs to assist with their childcare needs and find the experience to be positive, rewarding and beneficial.
In exchange for helping a host family with their childcare and light household duties, the Au Pair will receive full board and lodging and a minimum weekly pocket money allowance. Many host families contribute towards the cost of an English Language course, involve Au Pairs on family days out, family holidays, invite the Au pair s parents to visit and stay this is Cultural Exchange.
BAPAA will be in further discussion with Dr Cox shortly in looking at ways to work alongside each other in the aim of curbing any exploitation of Au Pairs.
If any Au Pair or host family are in a difficult situation and have no agency that they can speak with, then they can contact us by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org