We are on a 4 month sabbatical in Cape Town, SA and we have a great local nanny here. We’d like to bring her back with us to our home in Brooklyn, NY in April.
Can this be done?
Can we avoid the agencies/sponsors?
Yes, you can bring a caregiver from another country into the US as an au pair, provided that she/he meets the eligibility requirements of the US Dept of State’s Au Pair program.
However, to do this legally, you must use one of the approved Au Pair Agencies.
Some things to keep in mind when prematching –
- Agencies require that you and your (potential) au pair fill out all of the paperwork and fulfill all of the screening requirements that are required for the more conventional matching process. As the official facilitators of the US Dept of State program, the Agencies are legally on the hook to evaluate your au pair candidate and your family.
- Even when you know who you want as your au pair, it still takes time to complete the screening process and for your candidate to get a visa!
- Agencies usually offer prematch discounts. You can and should negotiate with the Au Pair agency you choose to get the best discount possible. And, if you have the energy, it’s usually worthwhile to negotiate with more than one Agency and challenge them to beat the other Agency’s offer.
- You might be able to save money by avoiding the “domestic airfare surcharges”, otherwise known as the air travel from the au pair orientation site to your USA home. (Less likely to be valuable to you because you are in New York and thus near the Long Island and Ct. sites of several agencies’ orientations.) Some agencies (for example, Agent Au Pair) will allow you to arrange and directly pay for your au pair’s air travel to your home. Sometimes (but not always) you can find a ticket that’s less expensive than the tickets the agencies buy in bulk.
The Value of Pre-matching with an Au Pair
People hope that pre-matching will help them save money. After all, you’ve done the hard work of finding the candidate! But still, you much use (and thus pay) an agency to do things legally and protect yourself and you au pair.
Take heart, though, with the other ways that a prematch ‘saves’ your family. You’ll get an au pair you already know, who you already trust, who your kids already adore. Worth its weight in agency fees, I’d say.
Note: The examples of agencies, above, are NOT recommendations. The examples are to nudge you to go look around for the agency that will best meet your needs.
image: Pretty woman, by gwilmore on Flickr