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
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
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
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