04 March 2013

Industry calls for au pair working holiday visa

Industries and agencies helping Australian families to recruit au pairs from overseas have called for their own category of working holiday visa to allow for longer stays.

Australia visa

Au pair agencies say working holiday makers should be able to work as an au pair for a single family for 12 months.

Most au pairs in Australia are currently in the country on a working holiday visa; however, the terms of a working holiday visa limit the holder to six months in any one position, meaning a family has to find a new au pair every six months.

Demand for au pairs in Australia has reportedly doubled in the past three years yet several au pair agencies said they have been forced to close their books to new clients due to the shortage of au pairs leaving parents to pay for more expensive childcare options while they wait.

"There is huge demand. We're not accepting new applications from families for the next couple of months," said Wendi Aylward, managing director of au pair agency AIFS Australia.

"Every agency is in a similar situation. The supply of au pairs at certain times of the year is insufficient."

The industry is lobbying the federal government to include au pairing as a special category in the working holiday visa program to allow them to stay with one family for up to a year.

Ms Aylward, who is also president of Cultural Au Pair Association of Australia, said allowing au pairs to stay for longer would solve shortages and provide better conditions for young children who don't have to get used to a new carer twice a year.

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister told the Sydney Morning Herald there are 'currently no plans' to introduce specific legislation for au pairs.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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