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British au pair - can you have one??

(48 Posts)
stressed2007 Fri 25-Jul-08 11:15:03

ok another puzzler for you all. We may have found a British au pair - who has been living overseas since a child On the basis she has a British passport or dual nationality then I assume she does not come over under the au pair scheme just on her passport. Is she then technically just a normal uk resident (even though she has never lived here for tax purposes) and can anyone think of the unusual repercussions of her being British. If she is not an "au pair" does she have to be paid a minimum wage even though she is doing au pair duties? Do I have to pay her tax? etc. I suspect their are a lot of other things I have not even thought about. Thanks very much.

imananny Fri 25-Jul-08 11:42:19

sure nick will be able to clarify


from what i rem/read, think an au pair has to be foreign so you couldnt use one with a british passport.

Therefore think yes you WOULD have to pay her minimium wage, as if she did over x number of hours, and went over the tax limit, you would also have to pay her tax

but i could be wrong

catepilarr Fri 25-Jul-08 12:19:39

my personal view on this is that you can employ her to do aupair duties. whether you should call her aupair or mothers help doesnt probably make much of a difference. aupair programm is a cultural exchange so if she has not lived in the uk it would serve this purpose when not the language learning bit. there is only a few countries officially in the aupair scheme ( which is soon going to change into something else anyway) . the rest are people from the eu ( and i think from commonwealth as well) who are free to come to the uk and work as whatever they like, including aupair.
live-ins are exempt from minimum wage. you pay pocket money to an aupair, which is under the taxable threshold (which is around 100pounds a week i think). if you go over that threshold, you pay ni and tax for ANYONE, not just for a british citizen. i hate when people think they can have someone working 40 or 50 hours a week , pay them lets say 120 or 150 pounds , call her/him aupair instead of mothers help or whatever and pay no tax just because they called her/him an aupair.

Millarkie Fri 25-Jul-08 12:53:56

I agree with Catepilarr - Minimum wage does not apply for jobs where the person has accommodation, food etc provided (ie. live-in nanny) and income tax etc has to be paid once income is over about 100 pounds per week no matter what the job title or nationality of the person.
You can call her an au pair or call her a live-in nanny - as long as she agrees to whatever you choose to pay her and keep her hours and duties reasonable, it's between the two of you.

SqueakyPop Fri 25-Jul-08 13:07:01

If your aupair has British citizenship, she is free to settle here. That's what it means to have British citizenship.

imananny Fri 25-Jul-08 13:34:33

the person is an au pair if she is foreign ( from another country) under 30 and wants/needs to study for 5/6hrs, to learn and improve her english a day and works around 25hrs a week (helping with children and light housework)

you can not call someone an au pair just to pay her crap money and make her work lots of hours during the day and look after young children sole charge - this is a nannys role - if she is a live in nanny, then you need to pay her decent money

this really pisses me off,the amount of times you see on gumtree, nanny/au pair wanted, then say they want 10hrs a day sole charge, yet want to pay £100 a week angry

Millarkie Fri 25-Jul-08 13:46:08

What is the relevance between your last post and the OPs situation imananny ? At no point has the OP said that the au pair would work lots of hours or have 10 hours sole charge.

Most au pairs nowadays come from european countries and so have full rights to get whatever job they want here (and don't need an 'au pair' visa) - nanny, waitress etc...some choose to be au pairs because that is the experience of UK culture that they want, it doesn't mean that they are being exploited.

stressed2007 Fri 25-Jul-08 13:48:10

blimey imananny you seem very worked up about something! I am only asking if there are different rules concerning my au pair from overseas who has British citizenship!

SqueakyPop Fri 25-Jul-08 13:53:22

imananny, aupairs tend to work very short hours, typically 5 hours per day. During this time, they may take children to and from school, using up 1-2 hours of their allotted time, and then look after children between end of school and parents' coming home. They may just have enough time to run a hoover around and load the dishwasher.

It is not slave labour! Anyone who has employed an aupair will know this.

imananny Fri 25-Jul-08 14:03:52

my response was to millarkie - that you cant decide to call them an au pair or a live in nanny - they are completley different roles

i never said anything about slave labour smile i know 2 very nice au pairs at school who love their jobs

only worked up about ads that state they want a nanny but want to pay au pair wages or put nanny/au pair angry

* takes deep breath*

think i need to go to bed, was up night nannying last night 9-7 for twins of 2mths and I earnt my money!!

* waves white flag*

stressed2007 Fri 25-Jul-08 14:08:22

You may be a bit tired..I know I turn into a bear when I am tired - you are right they are totally different roles and some people take big liberties. I am not one of them and hopefully my au pair will love us (and we will all live happily ever after)

Millarkie Fri 25-Jul-08 14:19:02

I think you have misunderstood my post imananny - I don't have time to try to rephrase now as I have a sick child here.

stressed2007 Fri 25-Jul-08 14:35:06

let'a all have a (pretend) vodka and lemonade and a deep breath (gosh I would love one of those). Millarkie hope the child is better soon.

QuintessentialShadows Fri 25-Jul-08 14:40:22

When I placed a nanny / au pair ad on gum tree I was hoping to catch the interest of as many applicants as possible. Preferably I wanted a live in au pair, but would also consider a live out nanny. I would pay the applicable salaries.

To the OP, if the au pair in question does not currently live in the UK and she wants to come back in an au pair role, maybe to explore her heritage a little, I think that would be fine.

Nobody is really "checking" this, it is only for visa and entry purposes the legislation exist.

catepilarr Fri 25-Jul-08 21:27:21

ad 'aupairs tend to work very short hours, typically 5 hours per day. During this time, they may take children to and from school, using up 1-2 hours of their allotted time, and then look after children between end of school and parents' coming home. They may just have enough time to run a hoover around and load the dishwasher.
It is not slave labour! Anyone who has employed an aupair will know this. '

wish everyone really knew that. apart from stories heard from people and ad on gumtree, i am still fuming about that personal services program about aupairs on channel four. if someone put up a program on tv about something, you would expect them to know something about it, wouldnt you....

agree with imananny on the aupair/nanny issue. it is something that gets me angry quite quickly too so understand.... it would really like to know whether those people who mistake a nannys job for that of an aupair actually are genuinely mistaken or whether they are just taking the p**.

and back to the topic, i think QuintessentialShadows said it very nicely.

SqueakyPop Fri 25-Jul-08 22:11:38

Nannies can get very precious on Mumsnet. Aupairs are for school-aged children and that is not really the domain of the nanny. Why would anyone pay £400 for before and after school care and a bit of Hello reading?

motherswhowork Sat 26-Jul-08 12:13:15


Au pairs need to be from an EC country who basically come to the UK to learn English.

If you want that type of childcare, you should consider a mother's help, who would have the same amount of experience as an au pair.

There's a good ebook that answers these type of questions, on a free childcare directory -

Good luck!

navyeyelasH Sat 26-Jul-08 12:39:34

squeakypop I can think of a few reasons:-

1) it doesn't cost £400, I am an after school nanny and earn £8 gross, which costs employers £160

2) I live out, most families would appreciate this personal space

3) most families want to leave their children with someone who has childcare experience that will help the child to flourish, both mentally & sociably

4) most families prefer the peace of mind a nanny give in terms of a medical emergency - an aupair may not have the necessary vocabulary to call 999 let alone perform CPR

5) nannies can be ofsted registered meaning parents get help in some circumstances towards the cost of childcare. Not sure if this can be done with an au-pair.

6) after school nannies typically prepare children's meals, change the children's bedding weekly, do their laundry & ironing, keep their rooms clean etc.

7) If your child is off school sick you nanny may be able to come around and take care of them for you. Not sure how many parents / au pairs would be prepared to do this.

I could go on but I get the impression that you wont ever really understand as you have already made up your mind?

I think the reason that nannies get a bit "precious" as you call it is because nannies and aupairs are worlds apart. Most nannies do hard graft working 10ish hours a day. Au Pairs do not / should not; I personally would never in a million years leave my children alone with someone who had no childcare experience & no medical know how.

Hire an aupair for the right reasons as Stressed2007 seems to be, do not hire an aupair and lumber her with a nanny role, it's not fair to the aupair and it's not fair to your children. Simple as.

SqueakyPop Sat 26-Jul-08 12:48:33

£160 is still a lot more than I pay for my aupair (£80), and I get cleaning for that too!

navyeyelasH Sat 26-Jul-08 12:57:00

Well done you hmm

Umlellala Sat 26-Jul-08 13:03:29

but don't forget to add in accomodation and food costs (£50-100 to rent a room, no?)

different jobs and expectations though IMO.

SimpleAsABC Sat 26-Jul-08 13:13:37

Sorry did the op say she was going to hire an au pair and lumber her with a nanny role? I must've missed that bit??!

SimpleAsABC Sat 26-Jul-08 13:15:39

Sorry did the op say she was going to hire an au pair and lumber her with a nanny role? I must've missed that bit??!

imananny Sat 26-Jul-08 13:46:07


no the OP NEVER said that she was going to hire an au pair and make her work long hours/etc

I replied that I didnt think that a british person could be an au pair for her

I then went on just to make converstation saying that adverts on gumtree etc often said nanny/au pair and it bugged me as that they did different roles - ie an au pair shouldnt look after under 3's/work 10hrs a day - unlike a role of a nanny

I have obviously caused hasslesad and was just commenting

squeakypop - some parents happily pay £400 for the peace of mind that IF their child is ill/off school that they have childcare covered during 9-3, many a time I had to go in to school and pick up puking child - i am there in less than 10mins from when school rang me - how many working parents can suddenly leave their office job AS SOON as they get a call,get to station and wait 15mins for train then many have 45min train journey and prob cant pick up their ill child till 90mins+ as well as school holidays covered - many nannies DO not just sit and read hello angry

they cook a healthy meal, do childrens washing and ironing, tidy up bedrooms/play rooms, do weekly shopping


sit and read mag smile

SqueakyPop Sat 26-Jul-08 14:01:05

My aupairs have always been able to pick up sick children from school - it is one of their duties, even if it gets in the way of their language classes. I always pay them for the extra hours, btw. I suspect that an 'after school nanny' would have more difficulties with just dropping everything.

It is my aupair's job to keep the children's rooms tidy, do their laundry and to cook a nutritious meal (including shopping for the ingredients). Aupairs may only be 20-year olds, but they are not brain dead. I always choose my aupairs as girls who are in their gap year before going on to university for a degree leading to a professional career.

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