The term ‘au pair’ is not one that is used everyday. It is French for ‘on equal terms.’ It is also a title given to a person involved in the latest trends in childcare where individuals exchange their services as a babysitter for an opportunity to participate in a cultural exchange program.
Families in the United States who desire an au pair and au pairs who wish to serve them have to obtain a J1 work visa. The only way to obtain this type of visa is to register with a federally approved au pair agency. This costs an average of $4,000-$5,000. However, an au pair service can operate at a much lower cost.
Au Pair Service Management
Au pair services are on-line database companies that help au pairs and interested host families come together. Au pair services are not in the business of regulating and monitoring au pairs once in America; they are simply a place where clients and au pairs can preview one another and exchange information. For staffing companies that are looking to expand into new markets and generate new revenue, the cost to add this service provision to your operation is limited to securing additional web space with your current web host and finding quality personnel to manage the service. Social workers with a background in foster care/adoption or individuals with experience in immigration law are examples of good candidates to oversee a staffing company’s au pair program. There is no additional liability insurance needed because clients registered with an au pair must absorb the costs of additional insurance offered through a federally approved au pair monitoring agency such as Nanny Agency.
Benefits of Expansion
A staffing company can benefit from this expanded service in 2 ways. First, revenue can be generated via the fees families pay to have access to the services database. Once an au pair service has built a pool of top-notch au pairs, they can develop certain tiers to their registration process that only allow families access to the crème de la crème if they pay a higher registration fee. Revenue can also be generated by selling an au pair agency or au pair insurance provider exclusive ad space on one’s service web site. Most au pairs get involved in these cultural exchange programs as a means of accessing an American college education. Therefore, a staffing company that expands into the au pair service market may also seek sponsorship from colleges or universities that can utilize the services database as a recruiting tool. World Class Service has training classes for want to be Au Pairs. Staffing companies can partner with companies such as this to recruit graduates.
Level of Service
Though not liable for the au pair’s or host family’s quality of experience, au pair service should exhibit a level of social responsibility. Providing summaries of immigration laws and basic advice for au pairs and host families is one way to do so. Also, requiring au pairs to post certificates of non-criminal status can help to insure that au pairs are citizens in good standing in their native countries prior to coming to America and into the household of a host family.