New rules and regulations for au pairs and host families
In 2012, the Norwegian immigration authorities will make changes in the regulations for the au pair scheme. This includes an increase in the pocket money the au pairs receive, and a rule which says that those who have children cannot become au pairs.
Last updated 29.12.2011
This has been decided by the Ministry of Justice.
Parents cannot be au pairs
One of the new rules says that people who themselves are parents, normally will not be able to be au pairs in Norway. This rule will apply to those who apply after the new regulations come into force.
The au pair will receive more financial support from the host family
The minimum amount which the au pair is given as pocket money will be increased from 4 000 NOK per month to 5 000 NOK per month. The amount which the host family gives the au pair to cover Norwegian language classes will be increased from 6 000 NOK to 7 500 NOK per year. In the years to come, these amounts will be increased regularly.
The host family will also cover the au pair’s expenses for travelling to and from Norwegian language classes and for the journey home.
When will the rules change?
The changes in the rules will happen as soon as the UDI have been able to make the necessary administrative preparations. The UDI cannot give an exact date for when the rules will be changed, but most likely it will happen by March 2012.
We will publish information here on our web site when we know exactly what date the rules will change. In the meantime we will process applications using the old regulations.
The UDI will give more information
The UDI has been asked to inform au pairs and host families better about their rights and duties. This might happen through regular open information meetings. The standard contract will also be changed so that the information is clearer.
The Ministry is also planning to set up an independent information phone line which will answer questions from au pairs and host families.
In addition, the Ministry asks the UDI to work together with the Norwegian Tax Administration to make information material which can increase the understanding of the tax rules for au pairs.
Au pairs are on a cultural exchange
The new regulations come in the form of instructions from the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry emphasises that the purpose of the au pair scheme is cultural exchange.
The au pair, a young adult from another country, shall be treated as a member of a Norwegian family and in this way get to know the Norwegian language and culture. In return, the au pair helps out with light housework and childcare, for a maximum of 30 hours per week.
Steps to prevent exploitation of au pairs
The Ministry points out that it has become clear that many host families and au pairs instead view the au pair scheme as normal paid work.
This is the reason why the Ministry sees the need to change the regulations and how they are practiced, so that the cultural exchange aspect becomes stronger and au pairs are not being exploited as cheap labour.
Possible changes to the law: Host families might be temporarily banned from having au pairs
The Ministry wishes to introduce an arrangement where host families who abuse the au pair scheme are quarantined. This means that a family could be banned from having an au pair for a certain period of time.
In addition, the Ministry wishes to make it easier for au pairs to change host families quickly if the first host family breaches the contract.
Today, the au pair cannot move to a new host family until they have been granted a new residence permit. This might put the au pair in a vulnerable position, socially and financially.
The Ministry wishes to make arrangements so that the au pair can move to his or her new host family as soon as they have a signed contract and handed in a complete application for residence permit.
These two changes to the law have not been made yet, but the Ministry will now send out a draft for public hearings.