We are in month 8 with our first au pair (she’s frmo Thailand), who has been great. We would like to extend, and she would like to stay for at least six months more, but she would like to do so outside of the agency.
Apparently a friend of hers, at the end of her first year, got a tourist visa and continued on as an au pair with the same host family for the length of that tourist visa (I think 6 months is the max–but am not sure). The host family avoided the agency fee for the extension and also then paid the AP about $500/wk.
My AP doesn’t have the full details on this arrangement. It sounds sketchy to me, and I would obviously not want to do something illegal.
I am wondering if anyone has any advice about this–where it falls on the sketchy to illegal scale, whether you have heard it being done before, whether you would do it. Also, I do feel like the agency fee for the extension is exhorbitant given that it doesn’t seem like the agency does much for the extension–there’s no new screening or administrative work other than filing whatever paperwork is needed for the second year. I’d appreciate any thoughts on this.
Working while on a tourist visa is illegal.
Staying past the time on your student visa is illegal.
Leaving an agency may or may not be legal (it might violate your contract with them). [LCCs chime in here…]
People do extend their au pairs, without the right visas and without the support of their agency, sometimes. Overall, it’s a dicey idea. Tempting, but illegal, and for good reasons I think.
(Some of the issues in a previous question about changing an au pair’s visa status are applicable here.)
Three Reasons Not to Extend Illegally
Most important, this is illegal. Legality matters more to some than others. If she gets caught without a visa, she could not only be sent home immediately but also lose privileges to return to the US. Not sure what happens to you, the host family.
She will not have health insurance or liability insurance without being sponsored by an agency. You can, of course, find a way to get her some insurance, but if you don’t, think about what might happen if she were in a car accident. Who would pay for her care?
You will be without safety nets– both of you. Your family will not have an agency to turn to (such as they are) for help in any emergency (e.g., cheap flight home for her if someone in her family dies) or in a rematch situation. She will not have anyone to go to if you end up taking advantage of her.
That said, the idea is tempting … more cash for her, lower cost for you… if all goes well.
If you were to extend illegally, what would you do to make the situation "work"? Or, if you would not extend illegally, tell us what concerns you…..