Would you Pre-Match with your Au Pair’s Sister?

by cv harquail on March 6, 2012

Dear Au Pair Mom –

We have just extended with a great au pair. It was hard for us to find someone from my own home country so that my 2 children could be exposed to the the language and culture. We were lucky enough to have found someone who is responsible and caring. She gets along very well with my family and I would be happy to have her stay longer if only she could.

4729203816_da2a8d9977_b.jpgSince we had to work through friends and neighbors in my home country to find her to pre-match, we know that finding another au pair from this country could be difficult.

Our au pair suggested that we pre-match with her younger sister. I had never considered this idea before, and I really don’t know how I feel about this option.

  • One concern is whether the au pair agency or government agencies would cast suspicion on a pre-match with my au pair’s sister. Would this make it more likely for her visa to be denied? That would cause chaos for me and my job if I do not have someone there to take over when my au pair goes back.
  • Another concern is that I have no guarantee that her younger sister will be as caring and responsible as she is. My doubts are purely based on 1 or 2 stories she previously shared about her family and not from personal experience.
  • Frankly, I am also concerned that if I try to do a pre-match with her sister and it doesn’t work out, it would be more difficult to get out of it then if I had just matched with someone else.

I don’t want to make any promises to my au pair or her sister at this point.

Other Au Pair Moms/Dads — what do you think? What would you do in my situation?

Thanks in advance for your insights. –HostMominNYC

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azmom March 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm

I think I’d pass on it, unless she had previously visited and you got a good vibe from her. There are too many risks – like you said, it would be more difficult to “unmatch.” You might check to see if there’s another agency that serves your area that recruits in your home country as well.

I know when people I’ve known have come for visa interviews the ones who have been denied have been those who have too many relatives already here. If her sister will still be in the US, it may be a risk. Those were individuals coming on tourists visas mostly, though, so take it as you will. We’ve had young “work age” cousins denied, and a friend had a couple coming over and only one could be approved (first grandchild being born)

AFHostMom March 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I wouldn’t. If it goes badly, it will be very bad, and the fallout will be very awkward.
As AZmom said, if you know her, *maybe* consider it–but I will tell you, after we chose our current AP, I looked at her former-AP-sister’s facebook and I was very worried that the AP we’d chosen would be a partier like her sister (and call her host parents crazy and other lovely things on a public facebook page). Luckily, she’s different. I would treat the applicant/sister like any other prospective AP. Much better to fully vet her than to feel pressured to choose her and regret it for a year.

DarthaStewart March 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm

We did. It worked wonderfully. We did interview the sister carefully, but honestly, the younger sister was a rock star au-pair.

Anna March 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I would interview her sister just as I would any other au pair candidate, and if she interviewed well and you had a positive feeling from all of it, I would take a chance on her sister. But only if she met all your requirements, and your intuition went for it too.

Taking a Computer Lunch March 7, 2012 at 7:55 am

I’ve never had the opportunity, but there are a couple of APs whose sisters I’ve met with whom I would have matched in a heartbeat. I agree with Anna – treat her like any other candidate (as difficult as it is). You have the advantage of inviting her to visit your home and see her sister in action. If she is not the AP for your family, you’ll have to have a heart-to-heart with your AP so there are no hard feelings.

LuvCheetos March 7, 2012 at 10:29 am

We had an AP who we loved, loved, loved. Unfortunately, her younger sister is still too young. I would seriously consider her, although I would vet her first. Part of what we loved about our old AP (the older sister) is her sense of humor, the way she interacted with us and how she fit into our family. When we met her family, I realized that much of that probably came from how she was raised. I would suspect that family upbringing can translate form sister to sister, but I’m also from a large enough family to know that siblings can be very different.

German Au-Pair March 8, 2012 at 3:03 am

I agree. Treat her like any other candidate and if you like what you see then take advantage of inviting her to your house and let them have a fun time together and getting to know her at the same time.
Just play with open cards and let both of them know that you will turn her down if you feel she is not a good match for your family.

Au pair Australia March 14, 2012 at 5:49 am

of course I would, is a great opportunity and a better chance to have a good experience, as we have already get used to her culture with her previous sister, the way they leave, her religion, her eating habits, we can feel like we already know her a bit before arriving

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