Best Countries in Europe for Au Pair Program

The Au Pair program is a good start if you want to move to another country or just get to know the culture and life. You will live with the local family, take care of kids and some light housework and explore the country in the meanwhile.

In return, you will receive a salary (pocket money), a place to sleep, and food. It sounds like a good deal, right? So which places in Europe are best to work as an Au pair and create unforgettable experiences? Read this article to learn where to head to get the most out of the Au Pair program.

Top Countries in Europe for Au Pair Program

  • Germany

Pay: 260 EURO; Work: 30 hours per week.

  • Italy

Salary: 300 EURO; Work: 30 hours per week.

  • Spain

Salary: 280 EURO; Work: 25 hours a week.

  • Netherlands

Salary: 340 EURO; Work: 30 hours a week.

  • Austria

Salary: 450 EURO; Work: 18 hours a week.

  • Switzerland

Salary: 500-700 EURO; Work: 25-30 hours a week.

  • France

Salary: 320 EURO; Work: 30 hours a week.

  • United Kingdom

Salary: 360-450 EURO; Work: 30 hours a week.

  • Ireland

Pay: 9,25 EURO per hour; Work: 25-30 hours a week.

  • Finland

Salary: 280 EURO; Work: 30 hours a week.

  • Sweden

Salary: 335 EURO; Work: 25 hours per week.

  • Norway

Salary: 530 EURO; Work: 30 hours per week.

You have many countries to choose from. They are all very different from each other. But what else should you consider before making the final decision?

Most future Au pairs choose a country based on the language they want to learn. However, you need to look at more factors than just this.

Ireland

Language: English, Irish English.

Becoming Au-Pair in Ireland gives you a fantastic opportunity to improve your English and to explore unique Irish nature. It is a great country to choose from as long as you can tolerate the rainy weather.

Moreover, Ireland has different regulations for Au pair’s earnings. Families there pay 9,25 EURO per hour, which comes to 1,110 EURO per month with 30 hours working week. The cost of living is even higher than in England and comes to 2,000 EURO per month.

Switzerland

Language: Swiss-german, German, French, Italian.

With high salaries and one of the best qualities of life in the world, it is easy to see why being Au-pair in Switzerland is so popular. Zurich, Geneva, and Basel and some of the most popular cities to work in.

Bordered by five countries, this country is one of the best places to live if you’re interested in European travel. Depending on where you’re based, you can walk over the border for a beer in Germany or drive to France for some shopping.

It pays more than other countries, between 500 and 700 EURO, but I promise you will spend A LOT there. I am living now on the Swiss border and visit the country regularly. So be aware of this. The cost of living for one person is about 2,000 EURO per month.

Norway

Language: Norwegian.

Living in Norway as an Au pair, you can improve (or learn from zero) your Norwegian language skills and learn about Norwegian society with a Norwegian family. 

Norway is a mountainous region with peaks and Fjords, making these scenic views. While spending time there, you will have plenty of hiking and skiing opportunities. 

Au-pair in Norway receives a solid salary of 530 EURO in a month. The cost of living is between 2,000 and 2.500 EURO per month. That should be enough to travel in the country, although high-quality standards.

As you can see, the three highest-paid counties also have a very high cost of living. This means your expenses will increase as well, especially for traveling. If you decide to be an Au-pair in one of these countries, I would recommend staying within the county and not traveling much, so you can keep your expenses low.

United Kingdom

Language: British English.

Improve your English, make new friends and spend your weekends visiting famous, oldest in the world cities and attractions. It’s the multicultural capital of the world. England is known for wannabe migrants looking for a new start. There are plenty of opportunities and things to do, explore, learn, drink and eat.

As an Au-pair, you will earn between 360-450 EURO per month. The cost of living is lower than in previous countries but high at around 1,700 EURO. London is way more expensive than other cities; rent costs twice more.

Austria

Language: German, Austrian Dialect.

Austrians are well known for their relaxed attitude and appreciation of their country’s beautiful landscape. It has a rich history that has influenced Europe for centuries.

Austria is located in the middle of Europe, making travel very easy and cost-effective. Here, you can enjoy the mountains, tour historic castles, or explore cities such as Vienna and Graz.

The salary is surprisingly high (450 EURO) compared to working hours, around 18 hours per week. The cost of living in Austria is approximately 1,400 EURO for one person.

The Netherlands

Language: Dutch.

The Netherlands is one of the most popular places for Au pairs. With its fair working conditions, charming architecture, and accessibility to many other European countries, it’s a great place to spend a year, especially for native English speakers.

Since Au pairs are pretty common there, the country has a very well-organized structure to help make the process as stressless as possible for au pairs and their host families.

If you would love biking through Amsterdam’s picturesque streets, eat waffles and famous meat bolls, and learn about the Dutch lifestyle – welcome to the Netherlands! Au pair earns 340 EURO per month, which is a decent amount for the Dutch cost of living, which is around 1,300 EURO for a single person.

Sweden

Language: Swedish.

It’s the second scandinavic country on the list. Sweden has both beautifully sunny summers and cool icy winters. Au pairs will find this country a fantastic destination if they’re interested in vibrant and cultural cities, learning the Swedish language, and living in a safe and welcoming country with a lot of privacy.

Swedish nature is untouchable, and the country remains to be less inhibited. Au-pair earns 335 EURO, and the cost of living is around 1,500 EURO per month.

France

Language: French.

Next on our salaries ranking comes France. One of the most beautiful with diverse scenery countries in Europe. Pleasant climate, fantastic foods, and cultural experiences.

France is known worldwide for its cuisine, art, wine, and fashion. And while you may know about the big french names (Chanel, Mona Lisa, baguettes, croissants), each region has its own unique dishes, culture, and sights to try and experience. 

With a salary of 320 EURO, Au-pairs have good opportunities to travel within the country. The cost of living in France is around 1,500 EURO per month.

Italy

Language: Italian.

Italy is exciting and offers Au pairs an unforgettable time. Visit the canals of Venice, the ancient Roman monuments, the Vatican, Trevi Fountain, and take a scooter tour of Naples.

Italy is beautiful, as well as the people, food, and language. You won’t be disappointed about expenses too, especially since the south is considered very budget-friendly. That allows exploring and trying all this tasty food.

Au-pair earns 300 EURO per month. The cost of living varies strongly on location, an average of 1,000 – 1,200 EURO for one person.

Finland

Language: Finnish.

It was nice to talk about the south, but now back to the north, to scandinavic Finnland. Finland is known as one of the happiest countries on the planet. Like the rest of Scandinavia, it has a high level of education, health care, and one of the best working conditions for its citizens. Therefore, it’s a popular destination for Au pairs.

The weather is harsh, though; expect to buy a warm winter jacket and keep it on throughout the year. You will find lots of private space in Finnland, as finish folk very much appreciate privacy, and people’s density is relatively low there.

A country filled with history and culture, world-class museums, art galleries, and ancient castles. Finland offers great viewpoints of the Northern Lights.

While working in the Finnish family, you will earn 280 EURO. It’s not much, but you don’t need more; the best things to do in Finland like the outdoors, are free. However scandinavic cost of living remains relatively high at about 1,300 EURO.

Spain

Language: Spanish.

Hola and welcome to Spain. Spain is one of our top-rated countries to work as an au-pair due to its modern cities, sunny weather, tasty food, and friendly people. It is a land of football, sangria, and tapas lovers.

Every region in Spain is unique. Historical monuments, medieval castles, and small villages stretch across the most diverse landscapes in Spain.

Life in Spain is notably slower than in other European countries. It’s common to spend 2 hours at lunch, followed by a siesta and then a long dinner with drinks.

Living with a Spanish-speaking family means you will be surrounded by the language and pick it up in no time. In most cases, Spanish people don’t speak English well, so you will have to! Working as an Au pair gives you a fantastic opportunity to improve your Spanish skills.

Your salary will be 280 EURO, and the Spanish cost of living is luckily one of the lowest in Europe and comes to 1,000 EURO per month.

Germany

“My time as an Au Pair”

Language: German, many dialects.

Germany is where I did my Au-pair program and had the best experiences in my life. If you like history and culture, then Germany is the top pick for Au pairs in Europe. 

From the Alps in the southern state of Bavaria to the harbors of northern Hamburg, Germany has a lot to offer. There are plenty of cities to explore, with 16-century streets, ancient architecture, and castles to explore.

Moreover, Berlin is now consistently ranked as one of the world’s coolest and most modern cities.

If you like beer culture, same as me, then you should check out Oktoberfest – the world’s biggest and best beer festival. Also, each state in Germany has its own beer, be sure to try all of them and find your favorite.

Unfortunately, German families pay the least salary for Au pair – 280 EURO; however, that wasn’t a problem for me. Compared to other European countries, the cost of living in Germany is very reasonable.

Things like alcohol, travel, clothing, and activities are relatively cheap. Germany is a relatively affordable country (except in the south) with a cost of living of 1,000 EURO.

Want to stay in Germany after your Au pair year? Check out this article!

The legal side of becoming an Au-Pair

Now you know the expenses you might face based on living costs in each country and your estimated earnings. Next, we will look at visa requirements for working as an Au pair in each country.

So that you know, EU counties are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

EEA countries: all counties from the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member, but Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

Ireland

Au pairs from the EEA countries do not need a work permit or visa to work in Ireland. They only have to register with the Irish police when they arrive.

Au pairs from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and the United States can come to Ireland under the Working Holiday scheme.

Au pairs from these countries need to apply for a Working Holiday Authorisation at the Irish Embassy in their country and meet the requirements specific to their country.

Au pair from non-EU/EEA countries can obtain a work -permit or student visa if registered to study English at an approved language school.

A work permit is needed for non-EU citizens to work legally in Ireland. It is usually issued for two years but can be extended. It can take up to 8 weeks for processing time.

Switzerland

Au pairs are only admitted to Switzerland if they come from the European Union (EU) member countries, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Au pairs must be between 17 and 30 years of age, unmarried, and have to stay in Switzerland for a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 18 months. 

The Swiss government has a limited quota for Au pairs permits. That means they accept only a fixed amount of applications based on the Au pair’s country of origin. Limitations are placed on the number of individuals from specific countries who may come to Switzerland.

Norway

To become an Au pair in Norway, everyone must apply for a work permit at the Norwegian embassy of their home country before going to Norway.

The au pair is only allowed to enter Norway if they hold a valid work permit. Before applying for the permit, you must have a job offer in Norway. For this, you need an “Offer of Employment” contract signed by the host family as proof of the job offer.

You can obtain application forms from the Norwegian embassy or consulate in your home country. Be aware that, on average, the application takes 3-6 months.

United Kingdom

Au pairs from any EU country don’t need a visa to work in the UK. However, participants from countries not belonging to the EU/EEA and Switzerland need to apply for a visa to participate in the Au pair program in the UK.

In most cases, the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme or Tier 4 (General) Student Visa will be a perfect solution.

Au pairs from countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and Monaco fall into Scheme “Tier 5” where they only need to prove enough savings – at least 1,890 GBP.

For applicants from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Republic of Korea, the government will be the sponsor during the whole stay in the UK. The number of places for both visa and sponsorship certificates is limited.

Moreover, the visa application must be submitted up to 3 months after receiving the sponsorship certificate.

Austria

Au pairs from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland do not need a visa or a residence permit to work in Austria. Applicants from other countries need to apply for a “special paid work” (Aufenthaltsbewilligung – Sonderfälle unselbstständiger Erwerbstätigkeit) residence permit to become an au pair in Austria. 

The Netherlands

According to the official regulations, the Au pair program in the Netherlands is only available through designated Au Pair agencies. As an EU/EEA citizen, you don’t need a visa. The only requirement is to be between 18-31 years old.

Applicants from non-European Union countries have to apply for a visa. The approved Au Pair agency will inform you about the specific requirements according to your nationality. 

Additionally, you will need to make an appointment at the embassy of the Netherlands in your home country to find out the specific requirements and finally apply for a visa.

Sweden

EU/EEA citizens do not need residence permits to stay in Sweden for more than three months. If you are a citizen aged 18-30 of a country, who isn’t a member of the EU/EEA and wish to work in Sweden, you must have a work permit sticker attached to your passport before entering the country. The average processing time for an Au pair visa is 2-3 months.

France

If you hold a passport from a member of the EU/EEA states, you can work without restriction. If you are a national of a non-EU/EEA country, you must obtain a work visa or permit in order to work in France. This permit will allow you to work in France for one year.

France currently has working holiday agreements with Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Participants from these countries could work as Au pairs without a permit and fund their travels.

Italy

Au pairs from the EU/EEA do not need a work permit to enter Italy on this program. However, future au pairs from non-EU counties must obtain a long-stay visa.

To apply for this visa, a certificate of enrolment from any Italian School where the Au pair will be attending an Italian language course will be required. The course must be at least 20 hours per week.

The visa will be issued for the length of the Au pair’s enrolment in the language school.

Finland

For citizens of EU/EEA countries or the Nordic countries, it’s not necessary to apply for a residence permit to stay as an au pair in Finland. However, they need to register their right to reside in the country.

Non-EU citizens must apply for a Finnish Embassy residence permit card before coming to Finland. The nationals of Australia and New Zealand can apply for a working holiday residence permit instead.

Spain

EU/EEA citizens do not need a visa to become an Au pair in Spain. If they want to stay longer than three months, they are required to announce this to the Foreign Nationals Authority and apply for:

  • NIE number (Número de identidad de extranjero) if you are staying for longer than 3 months. This is a personal number issued for tax purposes
  • Registration Certificate as an EU resident (Certificado de Registro como Residente Comunitario) if you stay for longer than three months.

Non-EU citizens must have a visa to work as an au pair. There are two options:

  • Student visa – you need to be enrolled in a Spanish Language course before arriving in Spain (the host family can register you) and attend at least 20 hours per week. 
  • Non-profitable temporary residence permit (Autorizacion inicial de residencia temporal no lucrativa) – This permit allows you to travel to Spain. You have to prove that you can afford your stay and that you have health insurance that covers you during your stay.

Nationalities like Japan, Argentine, and New Zealand can participate in the Au Pair program through the Working Holiday agreement.

Germany

EU/EEA citizens do not need a visa to work as an Au pair in Germany. They only must register for a temporary residence permit after they arrive.

Non-EU/EEA participants are obligated to have a visa. Hence, they need to apply through the German Consulate in their home country. A certificate A2 level of German language from Goethe Institute or a similar institution is required.

Future Au pairs from Canada and the USA don’t need a visa, yet they must obtain a work permit in Germany. Citizens from Australia, Japan, and New Zealand can apply for a Working Holiday Visa. 

Anna

Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

Recent Posts