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!
Should I apply for the 5-and-Under or 5-and-Up program?
This comes down to personal preference!
Au Pair New Zealand 5-and-Under is for families who have at least one preschool child under the age of 5 and who live within our partner's Ministry of Education licensed regions. The program, guided by Te Whariki - the official NZ early childhood education curriculum, is fully funded by the Ministry of Education.
In addition to the standard offerings of the Au Pair New Zealand 5-and-Up program, the 5-and-Under program has educational components that include:
- Intensive Au Pair Induction
- St John's child first aid training for the Au Pair
- Art box and first aid kits for the home
- Mobile book and music library access
- Organized weekly regional playgroups and regular group outings
- Monthly educational visits by a fully qualified teacher
- Education program tailored for the child, designed around their individual interests, stages and routines
- Learning journal showing the journey of developments, milestones and achievements for the child
5-and-up is designed for school-aged children or for those who live outside of our partner's licensed regions. These au pairs are much like a big brother or sister, and will often care for the children before and after school attending extracurricular activities together and helping with homework. They will often share hobbies with the children, like cultural, musical, arts or sporting interests. This program does not include an educational element.
When is the best time for me to submit my application?
In January and February when New Zealand's school year begins, the demand for au pairs is high, but we place au pairs throughout the year. We would prefer to receive 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.
How long can I participate?
Placements are for 6-to-12 months. Au Pairs arriving in September through to December must commit to placements until at least the end of June of the following year.
What kind of child care-related experience is needed?
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, etc. 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 am not accepted into the program will I receive a refund?
In the unlikely event that we are unable to place you, we will refund your program fee. We will be in touch throughout the placement process.
How far in advance can I submit my application?
Most applicants submit their applications about 3-4 months in advance. Please feel free to submit your application up to 6 months in advance 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 Auckland. We have fewer host family options in and around other major cities and in more rural areas. Please write in your location preferences anywhere on your Program Specific Application. We'll do our best, but location requests cannot be guaranteed. Actual placement location will depend on the families looking for au pairs at the time.
Do I need to be a driver?
Most New Zealand families seek an au pair who can drive. Families usually have 2 cars and sometimes will have a car just for their au pair's use. If you can't drive it may take longer to find you the right host family.
What are host families like?
Our international cooperator screens all of our host families for safety very 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.
A typical New Zealand host family will have 2 or 3 children, most often aged between 1 and 12. Most host families live in detached 4- or 5-bedroom homes with a back garden where the children can play outdoors. It's typical for both mum and dad to go to work, though some au pairs will be in a parent help role where 1 parent is home much of the time. Families usually have 2 cars and will sometimes have a car just for their au pair's use. New Zealand families are often sporty and enjoy spending time outdoors. They will often spend time together as a family on the weekends, and like to eat varied international foods. Hot meals are eaten in the evenings, often with the whole family sitting together at the table. New Zealanders are well known as friendly and welcoming hosts.
Can I be placed with or close to a friend?
Usually. 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 will take them into consideration but cannot guarantee we will be able to honor all requests. We do not allow multiple placements in one host family home.
Will I have options to choose from during the matching process?
You will 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.
If I decide not want to work with a presented family, am I eligible for a refund?
The stipulations of our refund policy can be found here.
Is there Internet access at every household?
The majority of our families are in well-connected city suburbs with many being in or around Auckland, but even those in rural areas usually have access to the Internet in their homes.
What if issues arise with my host family after I am abroad?
Being an au pair invovles a unique working and living relationship with a host family, over an extended length of time. It's possible that at some point you may experience some form of miscommunication, or even a disagreement. Typically, with pro-active communication and sensitivity, it's not difficult to resolve these things together with your hosts. However, it's never a bad idea to contact our partner agency in New Zealand for extra help - they are professionals and love hearing from au pairs, no matter the reason! If things really are not working out, they will work with you regarding the possibility of a rematch with a new family, subject to availability.
What does the visa process entail?
You will apply for a Working Holiday Visa, which allows you to work and holiday in New Zealand for up to 12 months. It is available for 18 to 30 year olds from select countries. In order to apply you must:
- Hold a United States passport
- Not bring children with you
- Hold a return ticket, or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket
- Have access to NZD $4,200 in support funds available
- Meet New Zealand's health and character requirements
- Hold medical and comprehensive hospitalization insurance for the length of your stay
- Be coming to New Zealand on holiday, with work being a secondary intention for your visit
- Not have been approved for a visa or permit under a Working Holiday Scheme before
The visa is free, but you must apply for it online. Expect to receive confirmation that your visa has been approved via email within 1-2 business weeks. You will have 365 days to enter into New Zealand from the date of approval and once you've entered, you will have another 365 days to physically be in New Zealand.
Does InterExchange help me with my visa?
We will provide instructions on how to apply for your Working Holiday Visa; however, you will be the one to actually lodge the application. Keep in mind the application process is very easy because it is entirely conducted online.
Is there an orientation?
Upon arrival into New Zealand you will attend an orientation in Auckland, which is included in your program fee. Orientation gives each Au Pair a chance to recover from jet lag, connect with new friends and prepare for their placement with your family. Some topics covered are: caring for children, understanding Kiwi culture, au pair guidelines, opening a bank account and applying for an income tax number, and social events for au pairs. Host families collect their Au Pair from the Orientation venue, near Auckland Airport on completion ready to start their placement with your family.
In addition to our ongoing personal support, you will receive an InterExchange Child Care Guide, Activities Guide, and Home Orientation Guide before departing the U.S. to help you confidently start your work as an au pair.
Will I have vacation time?
An Au Pair is entitled to four weeks of paid annual leave and all paid statutory days in a 12 month contract. Pro-rated annual leave applies to shorter contract lengths. Some families may choose to offer additional paid or unpaid leave.
Before you schedule your vacations, make sure to discuss directly with your host family if it's ok for you to take that time off. You technically can take your vacation all at once, but most au pairs space their vacation time out to accommodate the schedule their host family requires. If your host family is ok with you taking the full 4 weeks at once, then by all means, go for it! The most important thing is to discuss your plans with them directly.
Do I need an international driver's license?
We recommend you get 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. There are two State Department-designated international drivers license distributors: the AAA and the AATA. You may use either of these organizations to obtain your International Driving Permit.
Do all families pay in cash?
Many 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'd like to change your money into U.S. dollars, you should be able to change your money at any large bank. Please remember to take into account exchange rates and transaction fees.
Is there a contract listing my hours and pay?
You will receive what we call an Au Pair/Host Family Agreement and Invitation that lists your host family's 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?
You could simply use your existing phone with an local SIM card purchased in New Zealand (check with your U.S. carrier to make sure your phone allows this), or purchase a relatively inexpensive phone just for your time in New Zealand. In either case, you'll probably want to set up a local phone plan in New Zealand. If you're planning to contact people back at home, you could also use your existing device with wifi for services like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, etc. You can find more information here.
Do I need to buy a roundtrip flight?
It is usually more cost efficient to book a roundtrip rather than two one-way tickets. However, if you'd simply like to purchase a one-way ticket going into New Zealand and then purchase your return ticket at a later date, this is totally acceptable as well. If you leave your return flight open-ended, you have the flexibility to plan a trip on the way home (maybe Fiji?).
Will I be able to connect with other au pairs in New Zealand?
Absolutely. We'll connect you with other au pairs in New Zealand at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for au pairs in New Zealand. Our in-country agents will also help you connect.