Au Pair Program Update
On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed legislation that has temporarily suspended many visa programs in the US including the Au Pair J-1 Visa Program until December 31, 2020. As a result, new au pair arrivals to the USA will be suspended until January 1, 2021.
Information Regarding COVID-19
Agent Au Pair is closely monitoring the Covid19 pandemic and its effect on the Au Pair Program and its participants. We are trying, to the best of our abilities, to adapt to the fast changing decisions of governments, institutions and organizations around the world to navigate this global pandemic. While this situation is very dynamic, Agent Au Pair will continue to provide all their participants (current and future) with information regarding Covid19, including but not limited to general advice, impacts on the program as well as general guidance for health and safety. We will continue to keep you informed via email and our website.
While continuing our daily operations, we trust the decisions and official guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the local and national government. Additionally we are following the guidance from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the U.S. Department of State.
We appreciate everyone’s understanding and flexibility during this unique situation and are always available via email or phone for any additional questions or concerns.
All arrivals are deferred until May 26th per the State Departments recommended 60 day deferral.
Travel Advisories: travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
List of foreign embassies in US: embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/united-states
Find out travel restrictions by country: https://tripsguard.com/
Au Pair Information
This site contains important information for our cultural exchange visitors. Please note that we will continue to update you via email and will continue to offer our monthly info sessions for active Au Pairs. Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us via email or phone.
1. Keep yourself informed
Follow the news regularly for the most up to date information. Do not trust dubious sources on social media or the internet. It is best to follow major news stations or to follow the newest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). We have included the links to both websites in the resource section of this page.
2. Have open communication with your host family
We understand that this is a unique and difficult situation. This is why, now more than ever, it is important that you have open communication with your host family. Share your worries; let them know what you are struggling with or what you do not understand.
If you are feeling stressed and don’t know how to cope with the current situation, you can also review the tips of the CDC on how to deal with the current situation: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
3. Work together as a team
The successfulness of any placement depends on the cooperation, flexibility and understanding of the au pair and the host family. Especially in challenging times, working as team with your host family is very important. We understand that the situation is very difficult for you, but please keep in mind that it is also difficult for your host parents and your host children. Please try to be understanding for their situation as well and try to be flexible and again, communicate any problems or concerns directly to them. Should this not work, you may involve your local representative for additional support and guidance.
4. Caring for the host children
Ask your host parents what caring for the children will look like during this time: what activities you can do or should not do with them and what additional precautions you should take. Sit down as a family and come up with a daily or weekly plan to provide the children with some routines and structure during these uncertain times.
Also remember that as an Au Pair with Agent Au Pair you have access to the Renzulli Learning system which provides you with thousands of resources and activities to do with your host children (https://renzullihome.com/).
5. ALWAYS stay in contact with Agent Au Pair and share your doubts or concerns
Your local representative as well as the staff of Agent Au Pair is always available to speak about your concerns, answer your questions or give you some guidance. While we send out frequent updates regarding Covid19 via email and offer online info sessions, we understand that you may have additional questions. You can always contact us and we will be happy to address those questions (to the best of our abilities) and to support you.
Please note: that it is important that you continue to follow the program guidelines in addition to any national or state regulations. Should you have placement issues or should you consider ending your program early, do not make any rash decisions but speak with your host family, local representative and the Agent Au Pair Staff and follow their guidance.
As always, placement changes need to be approved by Agent Au Pair. Neither you nor your host family can decide that a placement change is necessary. If you feel that a placement change might be necessary, speak with your host family to see if the any misunderstandings of problems can be solved and involve your local representative. Regardless of the Covid19 pandemic, you might still have to go through mediation and will have to give 2 weeks notice. Again, all of this has to be confirmed by staff member of Agent Au Pair and you have to follow Agent Au Pair’s guidance. Additionally please note that any placement change might be delayed by local shelter at home orders and/or travel restrictions. Additionally, please note that finding a new host family can be difficult, as host families might be worried about having someone new join their household during the Covid19 pandemic and/or as traveling to a new host family might be challenging. This is why we encourage you to find a way, with our help, to make your current placement work. Please remember that the current situation is very difficult but that things will go back to normal again so once the situation relaxes again, you might feel differently about the placement again so consider making it though this rough patch as a team.
Agent Au Pair is not recommending for you to end your placement early because of Covid19. We understand that this is a difficult time, especially since you are in a different country, with your family and friends being far away, and we also understand that your parents at home might be worried about your health and safety. However, there is no need to worry and to depart early. If you follow the guidelines and instructions of the CDC, WHO and the national and local governments, you will be fine. We believe that the safest place for you right now is with your host family, to stay at home, practicing social distancing and following the best practices of the CDC.
Any decision about ending your program early needs to be discussed with your host family and needs to be approved by Agent Au Pair. We will work with you and your host family to find a solution that works for everyone.
If you are nearing the end of your program and are planning to return home, we encourage you to monitor the entry rules and regulations in your home country and to let us know about any news in terms of travel bans. The best resource for you will be your home country’s embassy or consulate. You can find a list of foreign embassies throughout the US here: embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/united-states.
You will receive departure information as usual, about 4m before your program end date. Please complete the documents and if a return flight can be booked the Au Pair should return home and should follow any recommended precautions and requirements. Should a flight that was booked by Agent Au Pair get cancelled by the airline, we will rebook the Au Pair on the next possible flight. We are encouraging Au Pairs to return home at the earliest possibility instead of waiting until the end of their travel month. Please note that due to limited flights and increased cost for flights we will not be able to accommodate any special requests for flights.
If you are nearing the end of your first year, consider extending (ideally with your current host family) for 6, 9 or 12 months so you can delay your departure until restrictions and travel bans have been loosed and more safety measures for traveling internationally are in place. Please note that should you decide to extend with a new host family a start might be delayed by local shelter at home orders or travel restrictions. Additionally, please note that finding a new host family might be difficult as host families might be worried about having someone new join their household during the Covid19 pandemic and as traveling to the new host family might be challenging. This is why we encourage you to stay with your current host family, if possible.
Your insurance is covering Covid19 testing and treatment if recommended by a health professional. Should you show symptoms, please make sure to contact a local health professional and be assured that your insurance will cover testing and treatment for Covid19. You can find more information regarding your health insurance again on our website: www.agentaupair.com/program-information
Traveling within or outside of the US is currently not advised due to national and international travel restrictions and bans and due to current shelter at home orders. Au Pairs should avoid unnecessary trips- you will have the opportunity to travel again once the situation with Covid19 is back to normal again. While we understand that this is frustrating and not how you have imagined your time in the US to be, your and your host family’s safety and health is a priority right now.
Should you still have to travel for any reason, this should be discussed and approved by your host family and you should inform Agent Au Pair of your plans. You should discuss any consequences of traveling with your host family which might include quarantining outside of your host family’s home or even early termination of the placement. Please also visit the State Department’s country specific Covid19 page to get the most recent information regarding travel advisories, restrictions and travel bans: travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
You can find recommendations by the CDC regarding national and international travel here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
While typically online classes do not qualify for the educational component, we understand that currently all in-person classes have been cancelled due to Covid19. This is why Agent Au Pair allows their participants to take online classes to fulfil their educational component, as long as online classes:
· Take place before the fall semester of 2020 (subject for review)
· Are offered by an accredited US institution of higher education.
You can find more information about the educational component on our website: https://www.agentaupair.com/educational-requirement.html
Due to shelter at home orders and in order to practice social distancing, no in-person monthly meetings will be taking place until further notice. This does not mean though, that your local representative is not there to support you! You can still contact your local representative via email, phone or text with any questions or concerns and you will still have monthly meetings but they will be taking place online.
Information for Host Families
This site contains important information for our current and future host families. Please note that we will continue to update you via email about any changes for the Au Pair program that are related to Covid19. Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us via email or phone.
1. Have open communication with your Au Pair & work as a team
We understand that this is a unique and difficult situation for your entire family. This is why, now more than ever, it is important that you have open communication with your Au Pair. Your Au Pair is far away from her/his home, her/his family and her/his friends. Your Au Pair might be worried or overwhelmed by the current situation as well. Please try to encourage open communication to avoid any misunderstandings or problems.
The successfulness of any placement depends on the cooperation, flexibility and understanding of the Au Pair and the host family. Especially in challenging times, working as team with your Au Pair is very important. Should this not work, you may involve your local representative for additional support and guidance.
2. New rules and regulations
Covid19 might force you to add new rules to your household guide. New rules might be necessary because of national, state or local orders or because you would like to include additional health and safety measures for your household. When adding new rules, please discuss them with your Au Pair and explain to her/him why they are needed, to avoid misunderstandings or rejection. Encourage your Au Pair to participate in the process and be available for any questions of concerns. Also ensure your Au Pair that those regulations will get loosed again once the Covid19 pandemic is over.
Please also keep in mind that while this is an extraordinary situation, the regulations of the Au Pair program, especially when it comes to work hours and time off, do not change. Au
Pairs are still not allowed to work more than 45h per week and 10h per day and are entitled to 1.5d off per week as well as a full weekend off per month. Please also note that the Au Pair may still only be doing tasks pertaining to the children. We understand that now that children are at home and may not be able to go to school or kindergarten for an indefinite time, you will require more care, however, the work hours cannot be exceeded. If there is an emergency situation you may of course ask your Au Pair to help out, if she is available and able to do so, but this should be exceptions and the Au Pair needs to agree to it. It is important that you let your Au Pair know that you appreciate her/his help and show understanding that this is a difficult situation to motivate your Au Pair and to let her/him know that she/he is a valuable member of the family.
3. Caring for the children
Discuss with your Au Pair what caring for the children will look like during this time: what activities can the Au Pair do or not do with them and what additional precautions should she/he take. Sit down as a family and come up with a daily or weekly plan to provide the children with some routines and structure during these uncertain times.
Also remember that as a host family with Agent Au Pair you have access to the Renzulli Learning system which provides you and your Au Pair with thousands of resources and activities to do with your host children (https://renzullihome.com/).
The CDC has also provided some information on how to support your children to better cope with the Covid19 pandemic and summarized behaviours which might be an indicator that your children are stressed or overwhelmed with the current situation: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
4. ALWAYS stay in contact with Agent Au Pair and share your doubts or concerns
Your local representative as well as the staff of Agent Au Pair is always available to speak about your concerns, answer your questions or give you some guidance. While we send out frequent updates regarding Covid19 via email, we understand that you may have additional questions. You can always contact us and we will be happy to address those questions (to the best of our abilities) and to support you.
Should there be concerns regarding your current placement or should you feel that your Au Pair is struggling with the situation and you do not know how to address it, involve your local coordinator and ask for assistance.
While we all hope that your family and your Au Pair are staying safe and healthy, it might still happen that a member of the household is showing symptoms of Covid19 or is testing positive. The Au Pair’s health insurance is covering testing and treatment for Covid19, if recommended by a health professional. If an Au Pair is showing symptoms, she/he should call a doctor who is working with her/his insurance immediately and should be quarantining in her/his room until a test result is available. Should the Au Pair, or any other member of the household test positive, Agent Au Pair needs to be informed and needs to be updated about the situation. We as the Au Pair’s sponsor are required to report any exposure of our exchange visitors to Covid19 and need make sure that our participant is safe.
If you are considering hosting an Au Pair or have an Au Pair scheduled to arrive soon, you can always contact us for the latest information on arrival timeframes and for information on your specific situation. Generally, we are hoping to have Au Pairs arrive to the US again as soon as possible, this, however, depends on the availability of embassy appointments to obtain a visa as well as the latest travel restrictions. As countries have different regulations in place when it comes to Covid19 and are subject to different travel restrictions, we might be able to have some Au Pairs arrive to the US sooner than others, depending on where they are from. If you have already matched, we will keep you updated on your Au Pair’s visa appointment as well as any delays.
Please note that Agent Au Pair will not be hosting an in-person Au Pair Training School until further notice. Instead, the Au Pairs will arrive directly to the host family’s home and will attend the Au Pair school virtually. You will receive detailed information on when the virtual training will take place. This has been implemented in order adhere to shelter at home orders as well as to ensure the safety of the exchange visitor and her/his host family.
If you are looking for an Au Pair to arrive as soon as possible, you might want to consider hosting an Au Pair who is already in country.
If you would like to host an Au Pair but are unsure about welcoming a new person into your household due to Covid19, we advise you to follow the recommendations of the CDC regarding people traveling during the Covid19 pandemic.