Want to be placed with a friend? Will there be internet in the home? Wondering how the visa process works, or what to pack? All your questions, answered!
When is the best time for me to submit my application?
We can place applicants throughout the year! The best time to start is January or February when Australia's school year begins and the demand for au pairs is high, making September or October the best time to submit your application.
We do, however, place au pairs throughout the year. Please submit your application about 3 months prior to when you'd like to start. Later applications may still be accepted, but opportunities for placement become limited the later you apply.
What kind of child care-related experience is needed to apply?
Your child care experience can include any kind of work where you have been responsible for children. This can include babysitting, tutoring, coaching, student/assistant teaching, classroom teaching, being a camp counselor or volunteering with kids and must add up to at least 200 hours in total. If you have additional child care related certificates or educational degrees, please be sure to highlight this in your application.
Do my references need to be sent directly to your organization?
Most applicants collect their own references and upload them directly to their online InterExchange accounts. However, if your referrer would prefer to email them directly to us, please have them scan and send the form to our general email at [email protected]
If I'm not accepted into the program will I receive a refund?
In the unlikely event that we're unable to place you, you'll receive a refund of your program fee.
How far in advance should I submit my application?
Most applicants submit their applications about 3-4 months in advance. Please feel free to submit your application early if you'd like, which will give us more time to find the most suitable match for you.
Can I make a location request?
Yes. We can usually accommodate specific preferences if you want to be placed near Sydney, along the east coast in general, or in an urban/suburban area. Please let us know if you have preferences, though actual placement location will depend on the families looking for au pairs at the time.
Do I need to be a driver?
Most Australian host families seek an au pair who can drive. If you aren't able to drive, it may take a few weeks longer to find you a family match.
What are host families like?
Our international cooperator screens all of our host families for safety similarly to how we screen our au pairs. Just as our applicants here in the U.S. must, all families submit applications and references, have an interview, and pay a program fee.
We have many warm and caring Australian families looking for au pairs. Most families live in residential neighborhoods or suburbs of cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. They’re typically middle class and have friendly kids excited to meet you.
Note that most families seek someone who can drive as they need help picking up and dropping off their children at school and activities. Otherwise, your schedule and role depend on the family, so it’s important to ask lots of questions before confirming a match. We'll send you some guiding questions during this process.
Can I be placed with or close to a friend?
We can usually place two successful applicants in the same metro area. If you've made any special requests to be placed close to a friend, would like to be in a particular region, or have any host family/children preferences, we'll take them into consideration but can't guarantee we'll be able to accommodate all requests. We don't allow multiple placements in one host family home.
Will I have options to choose from during the matching process?
You’ll definitely have the option to ask for other families if you feel the one(s) we've presented to you are not a good fit. Let us know and we'll be happy to continue looking for another family until you feel like we've found the right one! It's important to us that you feel comfortable with your host family match, and we'll do all we can to make sure that happens.
Is there Internet access at every household?
The majority of our families have Internet access in their homes.
If I am placed near a college am I allowed to take classes?
Your visa will allow you to take classes for up to 4 months within a 12-month period. If you’re certain you'd like to take classes, we recommend having a chat about this with your host family so they're aware of your plans, and can make additional arrangements for their children if necessary.
How do I match with another family for the second part of my stay in Australia?
Just let our cooperator know via email, phone, or by stopping into their office if you'd like to sign up for a second placement. We suggest informing them about a month or two into your first placement. They'll simply re-activate your online profile and put you back into matching—exactly how we found your first family.
Can I just stay for 6 months?
That's totally fine! A lot of people do this but if you like, you can travel afterwards on your own. Your visa is good for a full year so there's plenty of time to explore. It also allows you to take on seasonal jobs, in case you want to try something a little different after your au pair stay has finished.
What if issues arise with my host family after I am abroad?
Living and working with the same host family creates a unique relationship, and at some point miscommunication might occur. If you aren't sure how to approach your host family about something, you'll want to contact the Australian support team early on so they can offer advice or even mediate if necessary. They’re based in Sydney and just a phone call and email away. If you and your hosts agree to end your program early, you can speak with the team about the possibility of a re-match.
What does the visa process entail?
You’ll apply for the Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462), which allows you to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months (with a second-year visa option possible under certain circumstances). The visa is available for 18 to 30 year olds from select countries. Getting the visa is typically a quick and straightforward online process, but we'll provide information after you’re matched with a family and if you have questions you can always contact us at [email protected]
In order to apply for the visa you should have your U.S. passport, be in reasonably good health, agree to have travel health insurance before you travel, and have support funds available.
The Work and Holiday Visa also allows you to hold multiple jobs if you'd like. However we highly recommend that you don’t take on additional work, as being an au pair can feel like a full-time job.
You’ll pay for your own visa (currently AUD $440). It's a one-time fee that has to be paid at the same time you submit your online visa application.
Are there resources to help start my program?
You’ll receive an InterExchange Child Care Guide, Activities Guide, and Home Orientation Guide before departing the U.S. Upon arrival into Australia, our international cooperator will provide a Welcome Pack with Australia-specific resources on how to approach au pairing and how to adjust to your new environment.
Do I need an international drivers license?
Although it is not absolutely required, we recommend you get something called an International Driver's License/Permit. You should apply for this at the time of host family placement as it can take a few days/weeks to have it ready.
What is the Working With Children Check (WWCC) and how do I obtain it?
The Working with Children Check is required of all people in Australia (Australians and foreigners alike) who plan to work with children in any capacity. Each state has their own WWCC procedure, so you’ll apply for this in Australia after you know your host family's location. Our international cooperator will contact you within your first week in Australia with information on how to apply.
Do all families pay in cash?
Most families pay cash, although if there is another way you'd prefer to receive your pay, please simply let your host family know. If you open up a bank account (which is usually free, you just need to provide some proof of identity like your passport), your host family may be able to deposit your stipend directly into your account. If you'd like to change your money into U.S. dollars, you should be able to do so at any large bank.
Is there a contract listing my hours and pay?
You’ll receive a host family invitation listing their contact information, your stipend, duration of program, and program stipulations. Both parties will be required to electronically sign this document upon successful matching.
Should I bring my U.S. phone with me?
Most people either purchase a cheap phone with a pay-as-you-go SIM card for national calls, or simply use their existing phone with an Australian SIM card purchased in Australia. If you're planning to contact people back at home, you might want to use Skype or Whatsapp on your current phone with WiFi. Our How to Stay in Touch While Traveling article has more details.
Do I need to buy a roundtrip flight?
It’s not required, but sometimes more cost efficient to book a roundtrip ticket. However, if you'd simply like to purchase a one-way ticket going into Australia and then purchase your return ticket at a later date, this is totally acceptable as well.
Will I be able to connect with other au pairs in Australia?
Absolutely. We'll connect you with other au pairs in Australia at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for au pairs in Australia. Our in-country cooperator will also help you connect with their special Meet and Greet program held all around the country.