Information for Host Families looking to welcome an Au Pair
Are you a Host family thinking about welcoming an Au Pair into your home?
Please take the time to read this message from our Owner and DIrector Sue Pember.
With school returning next week I have huge demand for Au Pairs and unfortunately due to the shortage I am looking down the barrel of not being to supply over 20 Perth families with an Au Pair just for the next month alone.
We need the Federal government to not only reform and relax Migration laws but we also need the WA State Government to help us promote WA overseas as a must visit destination as we are competing with the lure of the East Coast.
The McGowan has been active to do this for international student sector but the the WA Au Pair industry desperately needs urgent help if it is to survive. Au Pairs bring great benefit to our local economy not only with their tourism spend but also more productivity and earning potential for working parents
For the kids: Australia's au pair industry needs an urgent review
We're in the midst of another set of school holidays and before long most Perth parents will be heading back to work either full or part-time. For many parents the return to work induces familiar working-parent-dread of how to balance work and childcare arrangements.
In Australia we have one of the fastest growing demographic of female entrepreneurs, and in 2015, female-led businesses surpassed the growth rate of male-led businesses.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, half of those women reported dependents living in their household. The Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, said these findings showed that women were creating new ways to improve working flexibility after the birth of children.
But it's staggering the lengths to which families still have to go and many parents simply do not have enough options when it comes to flexible working hours and childcare.
As a busy working mum of two, discovering au pair services was a lifeline. With both kids in full time school, life had become even busier than before. Having previously relied on parental leave, grandparents, babysitters, and nannies, I had now found an option that was cost-effective and practical.
In 2018, it's predicted that the demand for au pairs in Australia will continue to grow. Around Australia, families are looking to hire an au pair instead of juggling inflexible child care hours or relying on family for unexpected, out-of-hours situations.
Over the past five years, the demand for au pairs has become so great most agencies struggle to keep up. It's clearly become an affordable and viable solution for many Australian parents.
The industry, however, is mostly unregulated – unless you go through an agency.
There are currently a range of differing expectations between au pairs and families resulting in irregularity and unfair conditions across the industry, which is why a federal level review of our current Australian model is absolutely necessary.
Due to the current situation our experience is that despite being one of Perth's largest au pair agencies, we're currently knocking back five families per day who are looking to bring an au pair into their home. This is due to lack of availability of au pairs, because they simply can't come to Australia or use alternate and unregulated methods to find a family.
Which begs the question; why isn't there a better process for welcoming an au pair into an Australian household?
The Cultural Au Pair Association of Australia, CAPAA, is a not-for-profit agency working to protect and develop the au pair movement in Australia. The CAPAA has been lobbying the Federal Government to review their current child care funding legislation to extend au pair opportunities to people from Switzerland and Austria.
Aside from the economic and cultural positives of having au pairs in working families, the contribution to the tourism sector alone should be enough to affect change in legislation to meet current demand.
The Federal Government is currently looking at issuing special two-year working holiday visas for au pairs (instead of six months, which doesn't promote consistency for children) and cutting back on the red tape that inhibits applicants.
The current rules are inconsistent in that au pairs can come from Germany, but not Austria.
They also are required to have a large amount of cash in a bank account, and for young people just finishing up university, this is often prohibitive and unnecessary; they're coming to stay in Australian homes, after all.
The government needs to listen to industry disruption about changes to au pair regulations.
I'm behind changes to legislation that will not only open the opportunity to more countries, but will also support sponsorship for au pairs to certify they've had a proper induction process and the right level of support to ensure a happy family/au pair relationship.
The hope is that with a review of federal child care funding and industry regulation we will have a more consistent and less prohibitive process that supports everyone involved.
Sue Pember, Founder of Aussie Au Pair Services
If you are a Host family looking for an Au Pair and want some further information, please contact our team at email@example.com