Become an Australia au pair & see the land down under!

Last Updated on August 20, 2023

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Do you dream of relaxing on sandy beaches, admiring world-class architecture, and seeing fascinating animals?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, then become an Australia au pair and change your life!

Australia is a popular travel destination for people looking for a mix of nature and contemporary tourist attractions.

However, airfare for a trip to Australia, along with living expenses, can be hefty for some. 

A much simpler alternative to fulfilling your travel goals is to get a lucrative job in Australia – and what better opportunity than working as an Australia au pair!

Learn how to become an au pair in Australia, close up shot of a Koala holding on to tree and looking at the camera as it chews on eucalyptus leaves
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

You can not only earn while working but be free from the worries of bearing living expenses – an added bonus if you love working with children!

But, what is an au pair job? How do you jump on this career path? What is an au pair expected to do, and what does it have to do with travel aspirations and goals? 

This article covers everything you need to know about how to be an au pair in Australia, what it’s like working as an Australia au pair, and making the most out of your time in the land of kangaroos!

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What is an au pair

Whether you’ve taken a gap year before starting college to explore life and travel, or you’re just an avid traveller, waiting to step foot onto your next destination, you should consider becoming an au pair in Australia.

Not only would you get work experience from working with children, but you’ll get to experience what makes Australia so special, and make some cash on the side.

What does au pair mean, and what does an au pair do?

An au pair is someone who helps a family with their children and minimal housework, in exchange for free accommodation, food, access to basic utilities, and some cash for personal expenses.

Although it is certainly not a requirement, au pairs are also usually women, and many families will request a female au pair.

The job of an au pair is very similar to the role of a live-in-nanny but slightly different.

One major difference is that an au pair specifically performs this role for a family in a different country to their own.

Because of this, becoming an au pair or even hiring one has a set of rules and legal guidelines that are specific to the country where the host family is.

Both the new au pair, who would be a foreigner, and the host family must abide by these rules.

In fact, the type of rules and regulations for an au pair, and the job responsibilities are very different from a nanny or babysitter’s role – a more common job in some Western nations.

Moreover, an au pair isn’t simply responsible for taking care of children and helping the host parents manage their household, it’s more of a cultural exchange opportunity.

Au pairs are expected to engage in cultural activities of the host country like learning the local language or engaging with locals. It’s a big part of the au pair experience.

This is also why the au pair’s nationality has to be different from that of the host family. For example, if you are already Australian and want to au pair, Australia will not be an option for you.

Instead, you could try out being an au pair in Europe or an au pair in Canada. You might even consider a nanny job in Australia or New Zealand.

Find the best Australia au pair jobs, silhouette of woman with two kids on the beach at sunset with dark rolling hills behind
Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

Difference between an au pair and a nanny

Working as a nanny is a full-time job, in most cases, and one that requires a lot more than just looking after children.

It’s a demanding job and there are no formal work rules or responsibilities. Nannies are expected to do whatever the employer, or the family they are working for, demands them to do.

This can range from looking after the children, taking them to school, cleaning, and cooking, along with looking after the house.

An au pair is only expected to look after the children while their parents are away at work. Once the parents come back, they are responsible for looking after their children.

This is when the au pair’s shift ends and she might get engaged in cultural activities, designated for their role as an au pair.

Though there are au pairs that handle housework, most aren’t supposed to and it is usually negotiated separately or stated upfront as an expectation.

For a nanny, however, taking care of the house or looking after the children is an ongoing job, even when the parents are back from work.

Nannies are also expected to do chores and work outside their domain of childcare and housework – something that is not expected from an au pair.

In fact, au pairs usually have no work on weekends, not even looking after the children. It is different for a nanny.

Most nannies get only one day free throughout the week, that is, Sunday, some might have minimal housework or childcare duties even on a Sunday if the situation demands it.

Au pairs have different work ethics and rules in every country. In Australia, au pairs are expected to help with childcare tasks and light housework.

In terms of monetary compensation, nannies receive a salary that is in accordance with the wage laws of the country they are in.

A nanny in Australia makes more than an au pair in Australia but will have a lot more bills and expenses to consider, too.

The cash given to an au pair is of informal nature and isn’t considered a salary. It is pocket money for the au pair to pay for personal expenses while she is in the host country.

These personal expenses include but are not limited to, buying souvenirs, attending events, etc.

Additionally, nannies are not given any other privileges by their employers, unlike what au pairs get.

An au pair must live with the host family and the host family is responsible for bearing the au pair’s living costs.

Because a nanny is an employee and typically a resident of the same country, nannies are expected to have their own living space and must pay for their living expenses on their own.

Other differences between an au pair and a nanny are their age.

If you want to work as an au pair in Australia, then you must be within the age bracket of 18 to 35 years. Conversely, nannies can be of any legal working age.

A nanny is hired as a full-time employee of the household, whereas an au pair is a guest.

With that being said, an au pair has much more freedom and opportunities to explore the country they are in, learn about its culture, and meet new people.

Discover the Best Australia au pair Destinations, close up shot of a map of Australia will pin in Sydney
Photo by Joey Csunyo on Unsplash

How to become an au pair in Australia?

Becoming an au pair to work in Australia is very easy. There are no hardcore requirements or qualifications for Australia specifically.

There are only a few requirements to become eligible for getting an Australia au pair visa, so let me show you how to become au pair savvy.

What are the qualifications?

Generally, people interested in applying for an au pair program in Australia are only inquired about their age, nationality, and criminal record in the past five years.

In terms of age, people between the ages of 18 and 35 are considered suitable for this role.

Although men and women both can work as au pairs, this job is preferred by women because of the childcare attribute of this role.

In terms of academics, there are no qualifications to be met, other than the fact that you must have a high school diploma, if not a college degree.

Some au pairs have specialized college degrees or certifications in teaching, education, or childcare, as these are helpful for working as an au pair.

Definitely not required, but it is useful to have an understanding of how to deal with children, and how to teach them because that’s the main role of an au pair. 

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Required Experience

To work as an Australia au pair, you must have a validated experience of working with children for at least fourteen days.

Host parents looking for an au pair expect – or at least prefer – the best au pair that has prior experience of working with children.

It helps to get their minds off of the stress of possibly leaving their child with someone who has no clue what to do.

And while every family is different, it is beneficial for you to have prior experience with children.

The last thing you want is to realize, thousands of miles away from your home in a foreign country, with a stranger’s child, that au pair-ing is not your thing.

Moreover, a lot of families look for references when hiring an au pair, and if you’ve got prior experience, it is always better to include that on your profile (yes, you need a profile! More about that later.)

Get an amazing Australia au pair experience, person sitting on a rock on a cliffside looking out at a wide vista of a lake and rolling mountains
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Other requirements 

Other than meeting the educational and visa requirements, or having experience with children, there’s a lot more necessary to become an au pair.

As stated earlier, having a clean criminal record is crucial to becoming an au pair.

Not just for the visa clearance, but no parent would want someone with a former criminal history to look after their child, let alone teach them.

Other than that, au pairs are expected to know how to drive, cook and look after the house they’d be living in.

You would be expected to work for at least six to twelve months, so a strong commitment from your end is also expected.

Au pairs in Australia are also expected to have a sound background in English language skills. If English is not your first language, you must know how to carry out a normal conversation in English.

One of the other au pair Australia requirements is that you must not have any dependents or children of your own. Normally, people who work as au pairs aren’t even married, as that is also preferred.

Host families and au pair agencies also expect you to be sound physically and mentally and have no destructive habits like smoking or substance abuse.

You would also be requested to submit a medical examination prior to applying for working as an au pair in Australia.

And since we are living in a post-pandemic era, you will have to submit proof of your COVID-19 vaccination. 

Apart from these, since the job requires catering to the needs of children, parents expect you to be good at storytelling and narration.

Every child loves being told a story or tale that would doze them off. It’s also good for enhancing their creative and visual abilities and communication skills.

It is also helpful to be good at time management as you would still be working, even if it’s with children.

Having good organizational skills is effective for the role of an au pair as you would have to look after the children, the host family’s house, and your own time if you’re learning the local language or engaged in any other activities. 

Lastly, it is really important to have a positive and open mindset for this job as you will be working with tiny adults that can have temper tantrums and that can take a toll on you.

You would always be expected to have a more understanding outlook even in tough situations since you’d be the adult. 

Discover how to be an au pair in Australia, view of Sydney skyline and opera house with boats in the water beneath a wide open sky with clouds
Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

How much do au pairs get paid in Australia?

For many people, one of the first considerations when looking for au pair jobs in Australia is to ask, “how much are au pairs paid in Australia?”

You won’t be getting an au pair salary exactly, since wages in Australia are paid on an hourly basis, and the recommended hourly wage is 7 AUD for an au pair.

Australian au pairs are expected to work for at least 25 hours, though this can extend to 30 to 35 hours per week.

That concludes to 175 AUD for a week if you plan on working for 25 hours. For a monthly estimate, you could be earning anywhere between 790 AUD to 1100 AUD in a month.

While this is less than minimum wage and what someone nannying in Australia would make, you are living rent-free and will also have your food provided.

The hourly wage and the number of hours per week are not set and will depend on your agreement with the host family (who will probably have already researched how much do au pairs cost themselves).

Au pairs are also potentially subject to employee laws set by the Australian government, and they are also expected to file a tax return every year.

Under Fair Work laws you are likely to be exempt from taxes as an au pair in Australia, but you might still need to file.

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How long do au pairs stay in Australia?

Depending on the visa type, au pairs can stay in Australia for a period of 12 months.

However, despite this, they can work for only six months. This means you can be an Aussie au pair for six months and travel the rest of the year.

Australian law states that you can only work for a period of six months, but an au pair can stay with the host family for a period of 12 months. 

Where to Au Pair in Australia

If you want to be an Australia au pair, Sydney will likely be one of your top choices – and for good reason! Sydney is one of the best places to au pair, and an amazing city full of great things to do.

Sydney is also a safe bet for au pair-ing because whether you want to work as an au pair or find an au pair Sydney is full of options.

However, don’t immediately write off all of the other great Australian destinations you can choose from.

Perth is a spot that is growing in popularity amongst both Aussies and foreigners, while Byron Bay is a fun alternative community.

If you love remote areas, you could look into being an au pair in Tasmania and exploring all of the amazing places to visit in Tasmania in your free time.

How to find au pair jobs

There are two ways of finding work as an au pair in Australia. You can either connect with your host family directly or use the assistance of an au pair agency like Global Work & Travel.

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There are other websites as well like Au Pair and Au Pair World, but I find Global Work & Travel most helpful when looking for any kind of volunteer and travel opportunity, not just au pair.

If you’re wondering how to find an au pair gap year job in Australia, Global Work & Travel is a great place to start.

Why use an agency for finding an au pair job in Australia?

Instead of rummaging the internet to find authentic and safe host families, I strongly recommend using an agency.

These agencies are good and experienced at what they do and that’s because they’ve been doing it for a long time and help you through the entire process.

For me, the primary factor is safety. Using platforms like Global Work and Travel means you are protecting yourself from potential au pair scams and frauds.

Au pair agencies are very transparent about the work they do like finding you a host family and keeping a check on you while you’re staying in a foreign land.

If you try to connect with a host family outside of an au pair agency, it can be a tiresome process.

You would have to create a profile and do a lot of research on the host families, visa requirements, and other requirements of working as an au pair.

Working with an au pair agency means you don’t have to do anything but register with the agency, prepare for your interview with the host family and pack for your trip.

It makes for a much more stress-free and easy au pair experience.

Working as an au pair with Global Work and travel

Platforms like Global Work and Travel do the family-searching for you.

In case, after landing your job as an au pair, due to some reason, you don’t feel the spark with your host family, you can also request for moving to a new home.

Not only that but Global Work and Travel takes full responsibility for your care and assistance and a mediator is always present for helping you out in case of an emergency.

The entire process of applying and working as an au pair is so easy with Global Work and Travel because they make sure you are connected with a loving and caring family.

From connecting with a family to helping you prepare for the first interview, applying for the visa, and offering abundant perks, they make sure you have a one-of-a-kind experience. 

Apart from that, working with Global Work and Travel means you will have:

  • Access to family profiles before you decide which family you want to work with
  • An online au pair course to help you prepare for your journey
  • Meet and greets in the host country with travellers from other parts of the world
  • A rematch in case you don’t feel compatible with your host family
  • Certificate of completion

They also offer a five-night stay at any hostel in Australia where you can enjoy outside your role as an au pair.

You also get access to Global Academy where you can learn a range of skills and languages before you travel.

After your first trip with Global Work and Travel, you also get $250 off your next trip so that you can travel and work anywhere in the world!

I genuinely think Global Work and Travel might be the best au pair agency Australia has to offer!

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Is Being an Aussie Au Pair For You?

Working as an Australia au pair can unlock so many opportunities for you. Living and working alone as an au pair in Australia can really change you as a person.

It might even give you the confidence to take up travelling as a serious hobby or find a way to turn it into a career.

Not only will you bond with a family from a different part of the world but be fulfilled by travel goals like devouring amazing food, meeting new people, and visiting places you’ve only seen in pictures.

Becoming an au pair is perhaps one of the safest and frugal ways to see the world and give back to the community.

You can learn a new language, engage in a different kind of cultural setting and just make new connections. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

✅ What visa do I need to au pair in Australia?

Unless you are from New Zealand, you will need a visa to au pair in Australia. Most Australia au pairs will need either Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) Work or Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)

✅ How much does an au pair cost in Australia?

In Australia au pairs are considered employees and are therefore entitled to minimum wage. However, the family you live with (i.e. your employers) are also entitled to subtract the cost of rent, bills and even food from this. This means that you will usually make a minimum of 175 AUD per week, but might make up to 250 AUD.

✅ Do au pairs pay tax in Australia?

Technically yes. However, depending on how much you make, most au pairs in Australia will be exempt from taxes under Fair Work rules UNLESS they take up a second job. Never assume this is the case, though, and make sure you look into your legal obligations when you arrive.

✅ I need an au pair. Can you get an au pair without an agency?

Yes you can – there are plenty of options for finding an au pair without an agency. But in order to make sure you get a qualified, experienced au pair that meets your requirements, using an agency is recommended.

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