Today we’re hearing from Canadian au pair Sara about the 6 best host countries for Canadian au pairs. As an American, I found this seriously interesting as we have such different visas and regulations than Canadians- I so wish we were eligible for the U.K.’s Youth Mobility Scheme, for example!
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Wouldn’t it be fantastic if, as au pairs, we had the freedom to pick and choose whichever country we desired to live and work in? Unfortunately — and unsurprisingly — that’s just not the reality.
Not only does the popularity and demand of au pair jobs play a major role, but the differing visa regulations can also make it easier (or more difficult) to au pair in certain countries depending on your nationality. But for my fellow Canucks, I’m happy to report that we have several exciting options when choosing an au pair host country.
With that being said, here are the six best host countries for Canadian au pairs.
1. The United Kingdom
Canada’s Commonwealth status provides Canadians the chance to live and work in the UK for up to 24 months under the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa, a unique opportunity sadly not available to our neighbours to the south. The basic eligibility requirements for the application include being between the ages of 18 and 30 and having £1890 in savings.
There are many families looking for Canadian au pairs in the UK, several of which are searching for an au pair for a longer stay. Whether you’d prefer being in a huge metropolis like London or would rather live in the country, the opportunities in the UK for Canadian au pairs are endless.
MORE INFO: You can read more about the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa here.
Given that French is one of Canada’s two official languages, most Canadians have some form of French language education. At the very least, you’ve probably spent a good amount of time reading the French side of the cereal box at breakfast, and you likely know the national anthem in both languages. Being fluent in both languages can open up a lot of opportunities in Canada, so if you’re looking to improve your French language skills, what better place to do it than France?
The basic requirements for au pairing in France include being between the ages of 17 and 30, having a basic knowledge of French, and being willing to take a French language course once abroad. Whether you’re already bilingual and are interested in working and living in France, or you’re looking to improve your French language skills, France is another great option for Canadian au pairs.
MORE INFO: For more information about the requirements to au pair in France, see here.
I may be biased since I’m currently au pairing in the land of pretzel and beer, but Germany is an exciting option for Canadian au pairs. Basic requirements state that you must be between 18 and 26 years old, have a basic knowledge of German (at the A1 level), and you must stay for a minimum of six months but no longer than one year.
Obtaining an au pair visa is simple because as a Canadian you are permitted to enter Germany and apply with your host family from there. This saves you from making a trip to a Consulate in Canada (either Toronto or Vancouver) which can be both costly and time-consuming.
And although a language test is sometimes administered, I was told that Canadians (as well as au pairs from other economically-stable countries) are rarely tested once in Germany. Regardless, and for obvious reasons, it is still advisable to take a language course prior to arriving in Germany.
MORE INFO: You can read more about the requirements for au pairing in Germany here.
Are you looking to check out a country with a completely different language and culture than you’re used to in Canada? If your answer is yes, or if you already speak some German, then becoming an au pair in Germany just might be for you!
Italy is another fantastic option for Canadians wishing to au pair in Europe. The food, the sights, the wine — what’s not to love about Italy? Canadians are eligible to apply for a Working Holiday Visa through the Italian government. The visa allows Canadians to stay and work in Italy for a period of up to 12 months. Basic requirements state that you must be between the ages of 18 and 35 and have €2400 in savings.
Although the number of visas allocated each year is limited, if the number has been met and you are still interested in au pairing in Italy, you may apply for a student visa for stays longer than three months.
MORE INFO: You can read more about Italy’s Working Holiday Program for Canadians here.
5. Australia & New Zealand
Not interested in au pairing in Europe? Are you looking for something a bit more beachy? Luckily, both Australia and New Zealand offer Working Holiday visas for Canadians. Neither country has an official au pair program, but under the Working Holiday schemes you are free to obtain employment as an au pair.
To au pair in Australia, Canadians require the Working Holiday visa, Subclass 417. Requirements include being between the ages of 18 and 30, having $5000 Australian dollars in your bank account, being single and without children, and having a good knowledge of English.
The visa allows you to work for for a maximum of six months in the same job. You may wish to obtain employment with another host family after your first six months, or perhaps travel or find work doing something else! Au pairing in Australia could allow you to be spontaneous about your plans either before or after you’ve au paired.
MORE INFO: You can read more about Australia’s Working Holiday visa here.
The requirements for au pairing in New Zealand as a Canadian are similar to those for Australia. You must be between 18 and 35 years of age and have the equivalent of $4200 New Zealand dollars in your bank account. Canadians may stay up to 23 months in New Zealand under the Working Holiday visa. Unlike Australia, there is no maximum length of employment term under New Zealand’s program.
MORE INFO: For more information about New Zealand’s Working Holiday program, see here.
What do you think are the best host countries for Canadian au pairs? Comment below!
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Sara is a Canadian blogger and traveler with an unrelenting desire to see the world. She is currently working as an au pair in Bendorf, Germany.