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EXPLAINED: How does the au pair program work in Austria?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How does the au pair program work in Austria?
Children born in Austria aren't immediately entitled to citizenship, but their waiting time might be less than normal. (Photo by Kevin Gent on Unsplash)

Every year, thousands of young people connect to families from different countries to work as more than live-in 'nannies' for the au pair program. So how does it work in Austria?


Typically, an au pair is a young person that helps taking care of the host family's children while getting to know a different culture. Typically, they will receive accommodation and an allowance in return. 

The main idea is similar for most countries, but they have their specificities. In Austria, for example, citizens that don't need a visitor visa can come to the country and apply for a residence permit here. 

"This made it so much easier for me to apply. In other countries, I would have to go through the entire process at home; it would be more bureaucratic", says Rebeca Neves, a 25-year-old Brazilian au pair who arrived in Graz in October 2021.

She is staying with an Austrian family and takes care of their three kids: an eight-month old baby, a five-year old boy, and a two-year old girl. 

By Austrian regulations, au pairs need to be between 18 and 28 years old. However, don't need to be from a European Union country, meaning that Americans, British, and, in the case of Rebeca, Brazilian citizens can also apply and stay in Austria for up to 12 months. 

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They are not professional caregivers or cleaners and are entitled to at least €475.86 per month, as per 2021 values (more than that, and they have to pay for social insurance) and free boarding and lodging. 

How can I find an Au Pair or become one?

The "matching" between a family in Austria and an au pair happens online through an au pair agency. 

The candidate and the family post their ads with what they are looking for. Then, the entire matching and selection process takes place online. 

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Once family and candidate decide that they are a perfect match, the host family must submit a formal notification of employment to the Austrian Employment office (AMS), including a contract of work, the AuPair Mustervertrag.

The contract is concluded between the host family and the au pair. It determines in writing the most important conditions of work. This includes specific working hours, leisure time, leave, tasks, salary, accommodation, language course, and insurance. 


Since one of the reasons au pairs choose this type of program is to learn and better the local language, in Austria, they need to show proof of A1 or A2 certificate (depending on the Austrian region) and attend a German-language course. In addition, host families must pay at least half the school fees.

"I take the course, and it's so good to now be able to chat with the 5-year old host kid. He always wanted to talk to me, but I couldn't hold a conversation in German at first. I had to learn quickly, and he is very patient; he is my personal dictionary", says Rebeca. 

snow in austria

Rebeca, like many of her au pair friends, saw snow for the first time in Austria (Photo: Rebeca Neves)

For EU/EEA citizens, there is no need to go through AMS. Still, after four months of stay in Austria, they need to register with Austrian authorities showing proof of insurance and the au pair contract.

For non-EU citizens, the au pairs need to take out their health insurance valid in Austria, sign the au pair contract, and receive the AMS notification confirmation. 


After that, they must apply for a residence permit with the Austrian representation authority (depending on the country of citizenship, that will be done in Austria or through an Austrian embassy) and collect the permit after arriving in Austria. 

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Austrian particularities

Austria is particular in some things but general in others. For example, they make it clear that the au pair must have a separate room in the household of the host family free of charge, and they must be able to lock their room from the outside and the inside. 

At the same time, au pairs are expected to "help with light household chores", which is not common in other countries. The government doesn't specify which type of household chores, though it reiterates that the au pair "is not a professional caregiver or cleaner".

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As in other programs, accident insurance is declared and paid for by the host family. Many au pairs are attracted by the high pay (especially those coming from countries with lower-value currencies) and fewer hours as in other countries.


For Rebeca, though, the main appeal was the Austrian culture and its beautiful places. With one in particular.

"I remember seeing a picture of the Austrian National Library years ago and falling in love with the place. So when I heard about the program, I chose to come here and see it, to live here and have this experience with Austrian culture", she says. 

Useful links and contacts

Arbeitsmarktservice (AMS) – Public Employment Service 

Austrian Chamber of Labour 

phone: +43 1 50165 1201

email: [email protected] (labour law)

email: [email protected] (social security)

Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) – Trade Union vida 

phone: +43 1 534 44 79

email: [email protected]

Unternehmensservice Portal


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