Belgium is a multicultural country with 11 million inhabitants, located in north eastern Europe, less than two hours away in train from some big European cities like Paris, London, Amsterdam, or Cologne.
Brussels, its capital city, houses most of European institutions, like the NATO headquarters and other international bodies. Due to its geographical location and its neutral position in the Second World War, Brussels is deemed the capital city of Europe. You will be enchanted by its medieval cities, channels, and its excellent cuisine.
Apart from Brussels, its main cities are Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp. All of them are famous for its touristic interest. For instance, you may visit Bruges's historical centre, which has been declared Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in 2000, it being known as the Venice of the North due to the great number of channels going through the city, and to their beauty.
The main Belgian cities are:
Citizens of the European Union or EFTA do not need any visa to be an Au Pair in Belgium. They only need a valid passport, an agreement executed with the family, and register upon arrival in Belgium, for long-term stays, before the pertinent Municipal Registry of Inhabitants.
Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Taiwan have a Working Holiday agreement with Belgium, by means of which citizens from said countries may request this type of visa.
To that effect, they must contact the Belgian embassy in the source country in order to check requirements, expected number of visas they will need for a year and file their request.
Any Au Pairs not included in the foregoing list will need to request an Au Pair visa for their stay in Belgium.
They will need a Schengen visa type D that they will request at the Belgian embassy their your country, for which purpose they will need that the family request an authorisation to hire them and a work permit type B, which must be requested by the host family at the immigration office.
Once the family has sent the Au Pair the work permit type B, she/he must submit it, together with a health certificate and a criminal records certificate, among other documents, to the Belgian embassy in her/his country.
Belgian embassies around the world
Information on work permit
Foreigners Office in Belgium
Information on the Schengen visa
European health card
Given the particular regulations of each country as regards the visa and any changes that may occur as to the process to obtain it, Needaupair.com is not responsible for the information, opinions, and advice expressed on this website and, in every case, it recommends that users get information on these topics in each reference country.
The “Au Pair” concept was born at the end of the 19th century when British and German girls went to France to study and were accommodated in host families' houses.
In the “Au Pair” placement there are two parties:
Before being part of the Au Pair programme, it is convenient that both Au Pairs and families be informed about the goals of the programme and, in particular, of the obligations involved in being an Au Pair or a host family, as well as in committing to respect the programmes' principles and accepting, on the part of the family, that an Au Pair is not a nanny, a professor, a nurse, or a housewife.
To sum up, the “Au Pair” placement is about a cultural exchange and living together programme regulated in Europe by the European Agreement on Au Pair Placement, and in other countries by their own legislation, in which both parties must agree to the conditions established and make the most out of the experience for both parties.
Au Pair concept
It is a young person between 18 and 30 years old, with no kids, not married, who decides to live abroad for a certain period of time with a host family. The Au Pair may improve their language with the family and/or attend language classes, get to know a new culture and live a wonderful experience abroad with a host family, from which the Au Pair receives accommodation, food, and a weekly pay. In turn, the Au Pair has certain obligations which consist in helping the family to take care of the children and helping with the house tasks.
Host Family concept
A host family is a family (including single-parent families) who have at least one 16-year-old, or younger, kid who lives in the house. The family takes in the Au Pair temporarily as an elder daughter/son, the latter becoming another member of the family for a certain time period who helps them with daily tasks, such as taking care of the children and house tasks.
In general, host families require Au Pairs who pay attention to and are loving with their children, their greatest wish being to trust an Au Pair when they are not at home and the Au Pair is alone with the kids. The parents of the host families are usually people opened to cultural exchange, who are happy to live with, chat with, and enjoy the benefits of sharing daily experiences with an Au Pair from another country, and to take the Au Pair in as another member of the family.
Au Pair's obligations
The Au Pair's obligations may vary depending on the family, so it is very important that the Au Pair and the family agree, before the Au Pair starts her/his stay, on the tasks the Au Pair shall perform, it being recommended that a weekly planning be prepared, stating the pertinent tasks. Furthermore, such tasks will be included in the Au Pair agreement, which must be signed by both parties.
In general, the Au Pair's obligations shall mainly comprise taking care of the children and carry out simple house tasks. The total weekly hours dedicated to these services shall not exceed four-six hours per day (25-40 hours per week, according to the type of Au Pair placement programme selected), including babysitting 1-2 nights per week, if so required by the family.
Among the main tasks related to the kids, we may state the following:
Dress them up
Take them to and pick them up from school
Help them with their homework
Play with them and read stories/books to them
Take them out for a walk, to the swimming-pool, to play sports, to the cinema, etc.
Bath them and get them ready to go to bed
Be creative and involve kids in any activities which will stimulate their growth and development
Help with the language
Once or twice a week, babysit
The main house tasks accepted to be performed by the Au Pair are:
Load the dishwasher and clean the dishes
Prepare simple meals for the children
Iron the children's clothes
Operate the washing machine and peg out washing
Keep the kitchen clean and tidy
Change the children's bed sheets
Keep the Au Pair's bedroom and bathroom clean and tidy
Empty garbage cans
Feed the pet and take it out for a walk, if so agreed
Do any required daily shopping
As an example of tasks not accepted to be performed by the Au Pair and which, therefore, cannot be required by the family, we may find the following, among others: clean windows, deep house cleaning, take care of the garden, wash the car, do the weekly shopping, train pets, make the parents' bed, iron the parents' clothes, cook for the entire family, clean the parents' bathroom, etc.
Au Pair' requirements
Before deciding to become an Au Pair you must be sure you comply with the general requirements to enjoy this programme in the country you will choose, such requirements depending on the country.
The main general requirements to be fulfilled are the following:
Young people between 17 and 30 years old (this may change depending on the target country).
Be single and with no kids.
Be willing to enjoy a unique experience as an Au Pair during a time period running from one month to one year (it may be extended up to two years).
It is important for the Au Pair to have enough knowledge of the target language, so that she/he will be able to keep a conversation upon arrival, making her/his adaptation easier; in some countries a minimum language level is required.
Be responsible, honest and flexible, with adaptive and integration capacity, and open-minded.
She/he must like kids and be able to deal with them. Previous experience in working with and taking care of children will be very appreciated (babysitting services, camp, nursery, previous experience as an au pair, younger siblings...).
Have minimum experience in house tasks.
Be willing to attend language classes, since in some countries it may be mandatory as part of the Au Pair programme.
Have completed, at least, the secondary school (depending on the country).
Be able to bear the journey expenses, since the programme assumes the Au Pair is responsible for moving to the host country.
Having a first aid certificate will be positively appreciated.
Be healthy; it may be necessary to submit a health certificate.
Have no criminal records; it may be necessary to submit a criminal records certificate.
The Au Pairs from any country within the European Union who wish to be part of the programme in another EU country shall require no visa, so the programme will be more flexible.
In the case the Au Pair shall require a visa for not being a European citizen, or in case the Au Pair is a European citizen and chooses a country not belonging to the European Union, she/he must take into account the following aspects:
Therefore, and to confirm you are able to comply with these requirements, it is important that you get information in the target country's embassy in your country about what you need to request a visa.
You may find information in the countries section on the general requirements necessary in each country to obtain a visa; however, from Needaupair.com we advise you to request information in the embassy or consulate of the country you choose located in your country.
Au Pair's benefits
Host Family's general conditions
In general, host families must provide and comply with the following aspects:
Your family is composed of at least one kid (usually under 16 years old, but it may vary depending on the country).
Private bedroom for the Au Pair inside the host family's house which shall have a window, heating, bed, desk, and wardrobe, as well as a private bathroom.
Board and lodging, sharing food with the family's members, unless the Au Pair shall express the contrary (diet, vegetarian...).
The family will deliver the Au Pair on a weekly basis a determined amount of money as a weekly pay, according to the provisions of the Agreement entered into by the Au Pair and the family.
Make sure that, as a family, you are able to cover the Au Pair's meals and the weekly pay agreed upon with the Au Pair.
In no case shall the Au Pair's working hours exceed the maximum number of daily/weekly hours stated in the Au Pair programme of the host country. The Au Pair and the host family will agree on the number of hours the Au Pair will work per day/week/month and both parties shall respect the timetable stated in the Agreement and in the weekly planning.
At least one and a half free day per week (Sundays always), and one free weekend per month, so that the Au Pair shall have free time to rest, go out with friends, visit places, or play some sport.
A paid week for holidays every six months (the weekly pay is maintained).
The family must speak the official language of the country in their daily life, since in most cases the main goal of the programme is to learn a language and immersing in a different culture.
Possibility of attending language classes, which shall be paid by the Au Pair, unless stated otherwise in the Agreement or in case it shall replace, either in whole or in part, the weekly pay assigned to the Au Pair.
Facilitate the Au Pair's registration in the case of European citizens who have the European Health Card, in the family's health centre. In the case of non-European citizens, the family shall pay half the health insurance.
In the event the Au Pair shall make use of public transportation to carry out her/his tasks as an Au Pair, such transportation expenses shall be paid by the host family, and, in case the Au Pair shall use the family car, this shall be included in the car insurance policy.
In case of disease of the Au Pair, the host family shall take care of the Au Pair as if she/he were another member of the family. The weekly pay shall be maintained until the Au Pair is recovered.
Help and motivate the Au Pair to improve her/his language skills, house tasks, and childcare, especially during the adaptation period (first moth).
Inform the Au Pair on the house rules, the family's timetables, the house tasks to be performed, the children's habits, and the rules for the use of the telephone and computer, among others.
Pick the Au Pair up upon arrival (from the airport, train station...).
Finally, it is convenient to remember that an Au Pair is not a housewife or a professional nanny, and therefore her/his main obligations are related to the care of children, which does not prevent her/him from helping with daily house tasks. Since she/he is not a professional nanny, you must be patient and flexible during the process of learning which the main tasks with the children are.
Host family's benefits
Today's lifestyle of most families in developed countries where both parents work at the same time, or the increasing number of single-parent families, involves difficult conditions for they to combine family life and work, mainly in summertime, Christmas, Easter Week, and especially holidays, as well as those days in which the kids are ill and cannot go to school or nursery, involving a big difficulty for many families who, unless they get help from relatives or employees involving a high cost, will certainly have a headache when facing these situations.
Additionally, the globalisation of the last years evidences the great importance of languages, and mainly in the working field, where speaking a second or even third language means a clear advantage at the training level, the best way to learn it being in the first years.
These two current features of society may be faced, to a large extent, successfully through the Au Pair programme, from which the host family will be benefited by the Au Pair's help with the care of children and by facilitating the learning of languages.
Furthermore, participating as a host family in an Au Pair programme carries many other advantages such as:
Your kids will have fun learning languages with no need of going out, and you will see how the learning process advances; your whole family will participate in a cultural exchange.
Kids will be better looked after: they will have someone who will help them with their homework and exams, a mate to play with, and all this will occur while practising languages.
You will have more free time since today it is difficult to combine work and time to take care of and enjoy family.
For the family it is an affordable option, since the Au Pair usually receives a weekly pay, apart from board and lodging.
The number of hours the Au Pair works is flexible, being able to babysit some nights per week.
General costs of an Au Pair
The Au Pair programme will provide you with the possibility of living abroad with a host family, so you will be able to visit another country in the most economical possible way, learn or improve the language you have chosen, discover a new culture, meet new people, strengthen your personal values, and gain experience in childcare, therefore the advantages of being an Au Pair are countless.
In order to find a host family through Needaupair.com, if you want to, you will incur no expenses at all, since only by registering you will receive e-mails of host families, in case they are at least Gold Members, including their e-mails and thus you will answer to them and establish a direct contact with them. Likewise, only by registering you will be able to accept videoconferences or chat on line with host families, provided that these families are Gold Members or at a higher level.
If you do not speak the language of your destination country well, for only 36,99€ through the Diamond Member subscription − for a period of 90 days and for a maximum of two videoconferences of 30 minutes each − you can rely on the interpretation services offered by Needaupair.com, where you will be helped during the videoconferences with the Hosting Families by the Needaupair.com team who will translate all the things you do not understand or do not know how to say.
Other expenses you will need to cover if you decide to become an Au Pair include:
Transportation expenses to the host country, unless the family shall offer to pay, either in whole or in part, such transportation expenses, in which case once you have arrived at the host family's house such amount will be reimbursed through a greater weekly pay.
Apart from these costs, it is always advisable to have some extra money when you travel to a foreign country as an Au Pair to cover any personal or unexpected expenses that may arise.
Host family's general costs
Taking in an Au Pair involves minimum expenses when compared to other services in the sector dedicated to childcare and learning a language, there being countless advantages for the host family that will have a reliable person in the house.
As a host family, expenses to be borne for taking an Au Pair in are the following: