COVID19 – Information and FAQs for au pairs
Dear Au Pairs,
COVID19 virus is spreading quickly across the world and affecting many au pairs and their host families.
Some of you may be with host families abroad, far away from your own families; others are waiting to be placed or have already made arrangements to travel. And others were about to apply as an au pair to fulfil their dream to live abroad.
Sadly none of us have all the answers to all of your current questions. The situation is very dynamic and we are monitoring it closely.
However, we can give you some general advice here and hopefully address some of your queries. Things are different in different countries and things are changing daily. Therefore we cannot repeat it often enough:
Please contact our IAPA member agencies for information and support. They will not let you down in whatever situation you are in now. They will answer your questions as best as they can and will support you as much as they can in the current circumstances – and the restrictions they themselves are facing
We have put together some important tips and FAQs to answer some of your general questions
Keep yourself informed
Check the websites of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and/or national health organisations in the country you find yourself in. (see also list below this text).
Follow hygiene and social distancing guidelines
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds and/or use hand sanitiser
- Keep your distance from others of at least 1,5 m
- No handshaking or direct body contact
- Practice respiratory hygiene (sneeze or cough into your bent elbow – or a paper tissue then throw it away)
- If you have a fever, new cough or breathlessness, seek medical advice via telephone first and stay at home
Communicate openly with your host family
Speak with your host family about your worries. Discuss how you will care for the children at this time, what activities you can do with them if they are not now going to daycare/school – or if they are not able to go outside. Put together a plan or daily routine you can follow with the children. Should you feel that you would prefer to return home to be with your natural family, talk to your host family about this and contact your agency for further advice
ALWAYS maintain contact with your au pair agency if you have any doubts or concerns
Whatever question or problem you may have, contact your au pair agency. They will support you. Please understand that they may not know the answers to all of your questions given this difficult and unpredictable situation. But they will try to work things out with you and your host family. Understand that if you´re under lockdown they probably can´t meet you in person.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. I am staying with a host family abroad but because of the situation I would prefer to go home to my own family. What should I do?
Always contact your au pair agency in the host country and of course, you should also openly discuss the matter with your host family. The agency will help you and give you information about what to do and who to contact – as travelling will be difficult for a while. But many countries are organising travel opportunities back home for their citizens. Information is usually given through the embassy of your country in the host country – or via foreign ministries of your country.
2. If I go back home now can I return after a few weeks after the situation has improved again?
For EU citizens on an au pair stay in another EU country this may be possible. However, it may not be an option for someone who needs a visa for their stay in the host country. Or where there are programme age restrictions and you are approaching the upper age limit by the time you wish to return. You may also have to go into quarantine when returning home or once you go back to your host country. At this point, it is hard to say much as we don´t know how long the situation will last, and what governments will decide. Information may also vary from country to country. It is certainly always best to stay in touch with your agency to find out.
3. I would like to change host families because we don´t get along well, but the country is under lockdown. Is it possible to change families now?
Changing families will be rather difficult during this time. Again in this situation seek advice from your au pair agency. Only they can tell you whether they will be able to find you a new family and, if not, they will discuss with you all the options you have at this point.
4. I am an au pair in the US, but want to go home to be with my family during this time. Will I face issues later because I didn´t complete my programme?
In this instance, you should speak to your sponsor agency in the US about your particular circumstances and they will be able to advise you, as best they can, what your future options might be.
5. I am planning to stay with my host family to support them. What happens if I get sick here? Can I go to the doctor?
Of course, you will always have access to medical support and advice. Generally, you should always call the doctor, or recommended health helpline, first since many now have special rules and opening hours. But even under lockdown, you will receive medical treatment should your symptoms require it. Always check the rules that have been given out by the local government/health authorities in your current country to be on the safe side.
And check your travel insurance now for details of your health cover!
Please inform yourself now about what to do should you develop symptoms of COVID19. Many countries have special telephone numbers you can call. In any case: stay at home, avoid contact with other people until you can clarify your symptoms or you receive medical advice about what to do. And of course inform your host family.
6. I am stuck in my host country and can´t go back at the moment but my Visa is about to expire. What should I do?
In any case, please contact the responsible authority in your host country and inform them about your situation. Most probably your visa will be extended temporarily or you will be given a document justifying your stay in the host country for a few more weeks. Some countries also send letters to the au pairs on their own initiative and automatically extend the visa for a few weeks or months.
You can find more information about this in the links below this text, which we have put together for the most common au pair countries.
Very important: Contact the insurance company so that they can extend the insurance accordingly.
7. I already have a host family, my visa and a booked flight – can I still travel?
This can only be answered case by case and country by country. Many flights are now cancelled and many countries have strict entry restrictions including a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Some will still let people with a valid visa in, some may not. Speak to your agency so that they can check with authorities and their partners in the receiving country whether it is possible for you to enter the country and under which restrictions. Make sure that your host family is also still willing to welcome you right now.
Another option could be to postpone your stay.
8. I was going to apply to be an au pair, is it still realistic that I can start my stay in summer/fall 2020?
We wish we had a crystal ball to see the future and answer this question with certainty. Talk to the agency you were intending to apply with and discuss your options. You could possibly go to another country – or you can wait a while till everything is more clear. Discuss cancellation options, and refund clauses, should this be necessary.
Most importantly …
Don´t give up on your au pair dream!
Times will change for the better and families will be ready to welcome au pairs again.
Until then make sure you stay safe, support others around you and strictly follow the guidelines of the country you live in.
We´ll try to update these FAQs regularly. Should you have a question that hasn´t been answered above please contact us at our special e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
Here some useful links and information by country :
Starting from March 28, Midnight, GMT+8, China has closed all borders to foreign nationals.
Last update 07 April 2020