I know it sounds miserable, but I didn't want to be sat every night with the AP on the sofa with me and dh, so a friend suggested telling them this at the interview stage. This way if the girls wanted a family they could spend their evenings with they'd be clear that we were not right for them. I always made it clear that they'd be made welcome in the house, free to have friends over, have their own tv/cd/dvd player etc.
We never had any of the issues some people have with girls getting in the way and they always made lots of friends who were welcome in our home. We did ask them to let us know if they were staying out overnight, so we didn't worry.
We'd also give them extras and ie. plane fare home at christmas, paid for their exams, cash and pressie at birthdays etc etc. In return we had some great girls and only one who was terrible.
I can't locate the new rules either... or more precisely I can't locate the list of countries who are Sponsoring people to come to the UK under the Youth Mobility Scheme. Has the list been published yet?
It's true. The au pair scheme is ending in favour of the new points-based immigration scheme. The youth mobility scheme is only for Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan I believe. HIring a Turkish au pair will no longer be possible.
Write out exactly what you expect from your AP. It sounds terribly formal but every one we had loved it; they don't want to be on the end of an endlessly "flexible" deal of last-minute baby sitting, and they don't want to let you down by not doing what you want. Stick to your deal, pay them on time and in cash.
Make sure they have an opportunity to earn extra money. Our deal was always day time work only, no evenings because of baby sitting clashes. It worked a treat, indeed a string of jobs started up by the first AP was inherited by successive au pairs. Help them vet would-be employers.
Their room must be pleasant, have tv, DVD radio. Here's a funny one. You probably have a single bed for your AP's room. Make sure the duvet is double. The 6 foot goddess who was our last au pair could barely keep warm, but at least she had the nous to tell us!
Makes sense echt. I think I need help getting them out to school in the morning 9 mornings out of 10 I can drop the dc at school but I generally leave straight from sch to get to work, so the way I leave the house is the way I find it when I get home. Maybe I should write a plan of what I do each day and then allocate some jobs to the au pair.. I am often at work in the evening- we are considering a male aupair so that DH has another guy to watch TV with etc?