New Zealand is hands down one of the most epic countries on earth. And not only is it filled with incredible landscapes, but it also has some of the world's friendliest people. It's a pretty hard combination to resist, so it's no wonder you're intersted in spending more than just a week or two there! As an au pair, you'll get to live like a kiwi, totally immersed in the local culture. You will make friendships that will last a lifetime and be able to explore one of the world's most incredible countries. You'll come home not only knowing what words like "arvo" and "jandals" mean, you'll also have countless fond memories and a second family to come back and visit.
Choosing a Host Family
Length of Program
Most au pair programs in New Zealand are from 6 months to 12 months.
Most au pair programs in New Zealand require au pairs to work between 30 and 45 hours a week. The au pair's duties will be centered around caring for and entertaining the children. As such, duties can include activities like dropping off and picking up the children from school, preparing snacks and meals for the children, playing with them and bathing and dressing them. Some programs provide au pairs with training and support to educate the children as well. And in many programs the au pair might also perform light house duties such as washing the dishes,tidying up the kids' rooms and doing the children's laundry. Most programs include 1 or 2 free days a week for au pairs.
The stipends for au pair programs in New Zealand vary, however they tend to be between NZ $150 and NZ $300 per week. Some au pair programs also have completion bonuses, which also vary but are about 10% of the weekly stipend per week and are paid upon program completion.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Start Looking
If you're looking to connect with a host family directly rather than through an agency, for example through a site like Au Pair World, you'll want to keep in mind that most host families in New Zealand will start their search for an au pair about 6 months before the placement begins. If you opt to to through an au pair agency, you can apply up to a year in advance. At least 6 months ahead is typically recommended. Particularly for the larger au pair agencies, they have year-round demand for au pairs and how readily you are placed will depend on factors such as your preferred date of arrival and childcare experience.
Most agencies have a multi-tiered recruitment process. First you have to meet the general requirements such as age (some have even more specific age requirements than the general age for a visa application, like ages 18-26), language (most require you speak English or in some cases German fluently and some though not all require competency in French), previous childcare experience, education (most require a secondary degree diploma) and lack of criminal record.
Au pairs then go through an application process, where facets include phone and/or video calls, requests for references, some form of background check, document submission (such as copies of a diploma, driver's license, passport, etc.), and in some cases in-person meetings. Then once thoroughly screened, applicants are matched up with host families.
To work as an au pair in New Zealand, you must first obtain a working holiday visa. Applicants must be 18-30 years old and hold a valid passport from one of 40 countries (plus Hong Kong) participating in New Zealand's working holiday program (see the Immigration New Zealand site for the full list). All applicants must also submit proof of comprehensive health insuracne that will cover them for the duration of their stay and show evidence of their intention to depart from New Zealand after their working holiday visa expires, either in the form of a purchased return ticket or sufficient funds to purchase one.
If you have spent time in certain countries not considered to have a low incidence of TB, you will be required to submit a Chest X-ray Certificate. Important to note: once you have been previously approved under the New Zealand working holiday scheme, you will not be permitted to apply again, even if you were unable for whatever reason to work there. So be sure to time your visa application carefully. If you've submitted all of the required documentation properly, your visa can take as little as 5 working days to be approved.
Either way, within 5 working days of your application, you can expect a response from Immigration New Zealand, either approving your application or requesting more information. For full details about the working holiday visa requirements, visit the Immigration New Zealand site.
Contributed by Anis Salvesen
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