Luckily, China is a desirable au pair destination due to the demand for English speaking caretakers for children. Upon completion of your time abroad, you will have a greater understanding of the Chinese culture – through both the eyes of a family member and traveler, and you will have a unique bond unlike any other with your host family.
Length of Program: Au Pairs typically work from three to twelve months.
Responsibilities /Workload: As an au pair, you will be expected to work 25-30 hours per week. This includes taking care of the children such as taking them to school and practicing their English and light housework like tidying the children’s rooms and preparing meals. You have will a contract outlined with the family, and your duties should not be outside the realm of the children (i.e. heavy housework).
Choosing to be an au pair through an agency will give you safety in your contract as they will address any breaches of the contract. Generally, programs will allow you to have 1-2 days off per week. If creating a contract directly with your family, it will be up to negotiations between you and the parents. If doing it independently, it is useful to research general au pair contracts in China to understand what the norm is.
Au pairs should expect to receive at least 1,000 RMB per month. Room and board is always provided. Additionally, your flight will typically be reimbursed and you will take weekly Chinese language lessons. However, these are only guaranteed when working through an agency; otherwise it is up to the discretion of your host family.
Where and When To Start Looking
There are different types of ways to become an au pair in China – it all depends on how much aid you want being matched with a family, with the visa application, and with support once in China. There are sites where you may create a personal profile and view Chinese family’s profiles and form a contract together. And there are sites that will match you to a family and oversee your work relationship with the family throughout your stay.
Directly contacting families is ideal for those looking for an independent experience or who feel comfortable with all aspects of being an au pair – from visa applications to acclimating in China. For those who are more apprehensive or would like support , structure, and stability throughout the process, an agency is the most desirable option.
Also, agencies tend to have events where au pairs come together so you will be able to connect with others who are going through the same experience. For either option, it is best to begin 3-6 months before you’d like to begin your au pair program.
The application generally follows the following steps:
- Pre-Application: The agency will verify that you meet the eligibility requirements (listed above).
- Application: The agency will collect and verify necessary documents such as a background check, references, passport information and some sort of letter or video introducing yourself to potential host families.
- Matching: The agency will attempt to match you with a Chinese family; you and the family must mutually agree to enter into an au pair/host family relationship. Both parties must feel it is a good match.
- Pre-Departure: Apply for your visa, book flights, pay agency fees.
- Welcome to China: Attend an orientation and meet your family.
There are two types of visa options: F visa (which is for business/study/culture) for stays up to six months and X visa (which is for study) for over six months. In order to apply for a visa, you will need a letter or “invitation” to come to China from either your host family or agency, to present the application in person to a local Chinese embassy, to have a valid passport, and to pay a $140 fee.