How to apply to be Au pair Canada- Visa requirements and more

Canada stretching from the U.S. in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north, is filled with vibrant cities including massive, multicultural Toronto; predominantly French-speaking Montréal and Québec City; Vancouver and Halifax on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, respectively; and Ottawa, the capital. It’s also crossed by the Rocky Mountains and home to vast swaths of protected wilderness. English is predominately the spoken language and it is close to the USA. It has a population of 35 million people has very contrasting weather, gets a lot of snow and it has a Queen. A land of opportunities and a great choice on paper to visit as an au pair.

It is not until you look into Canada and its current job crisis and the requirements to become an au pair Canada that might make you rethink your options. I would not rule things out until you read all below for some great advice and quick tips.


In recent articles in the Huffington Post read here it refers to the unemployment rate sticking at 6.6% and also a concern among Youth Unemployment between 15-29 years olds – bottom line there are not enough jobs. Huffington so with au pairs falling into this age bracket what are the possibilities of getting work in Canada as an au pair? Will employment agencies even respond or deal with you? Would it be easier to look for nanny jobs?

Yes is the answer to the above questions; bar the last as in my opinion an au pair is the way to go if you wish to explore new cultures and see new countries. You can work as an au pair in Canada but it will come down to what country you are from at the end of the day. Canada does not offer an official au pair program, however, youths between 18 and 35 may qualify for a Working Holiday Visa, now called International Experience Canada or student work visa programs OR a Live in Care giver programme. So there are 2 programmes you can apply to for becoming an au pair in Canada. Things are looking good already.

 Live in Caregiver Visa


This open to caregivers who are aged 19 and above. There is no age limit on this visa program, but if you are looking to use this option to become an au pair generally this is a young person’s game.  This visa allows foreign employees to enter Canada as a caregiver. Successful applicants receive an employment authorisation allowing them to work in Canada as live-in caregivers. After two years of employment, program participants can apply in Canada to become permanent residents; they may be granted permanent resident status provided they meet certain requirements. Note: the two years of employment must be completed within four years of the caregiver’s arrival in Canada.

The Working Holiday Program or International Experience Canada (IEC)

Allows young citizens from countries with a reciprocal agreement with Canada, to live and work in Canada for 12-24 months. To work in the “childcare” field on this visa, you will need to lodge additional forms to have an unrestricted visa issued.

Countries eligible for IEC: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

About the Live-in Caregiver Program:

The Live-in Caregiver Program allows workers to go to Canada for live-in work as caregivers when there are not enough Canadians to fill the available positions. A “live-in caregiver” is someone who provides unsupervised care of children, the elderly, or the disabled in a private household.

Normal processing times 6-24 months but check your local embassy to verify.


  • Applicants must have successfully completed the equivalent of a Canadian high school education.
  • Applicants must have six months of full-time training in a classroom setting or twelve months of full-time paid employment, including at least six months of continuous employment with one employer in a field or occupation related to the job you are seeking as a live-in caregiver.
  • Applicants must be able to speak, read and understand either English or French at a level that allows you to function independently.
  • Applicants must have an employment contract and work permit.
  • An application to hire a live-in carer must be submitted by the prospective employer (host family) to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada (HRSDC/SC).The family must apply for the Labour Market Opinion (LMO).

Once granted, the work permit is normally valid for 4 years, in some circumstances 4 years and 3 months, and then you can start working as an au pair in Canada.

Caregivers are paid minimum wage, between $235- $350 per week, depending on the minimum wage set in each province. Maximum of 44 hours per week.

Live in care givers visa

Au pair canada paperwork
The all important work permit


About the International Experience Canada (IEC):

To work as an au pair in Canada, working holiday makers must be between 18-30 years of age, provide proof of sufficient funds (usually $2,500 CAD), have a return air ticket or funds to purchase one, have a valid passport, possess neither a criminal record nor serious medical conditions, not be accompanied by dependents, have comprehensive private health insurance, which includes medical, hospitalisation, repatriation and liability cover for the duration of their stay and not have already participated in the working holiday program.

Check the Government of Canada website to check your eligibility click here to check eligibility

You have 2 options to becoming an au pair in Canada going on the Working Holiday visa and which one you go for depends on how urgent it is.

  • You can go the ‘normal’ route and submit your application get all your medicals done (all through approved doctors or centres from the CIC) and await approval, this can take 6-8 weeks. During the application process, you’ll be asked if you would like to work in childcare, answer ‘yes’ to that question. If you are successful, a Letter of Introduction (LOI) will be emailed to you and you can enter Canada and be issued an unrestricted work permit so you may start working in childcare and hence as an au pair in Canada. You do not have to have a job offer in advance but with so many website out there like you can read my article on this here IMDEB LINK and the nature of the au pair business it would be better off to look for a host family in advance and more for peace of mind – especially after reading the jobs situation in Canada above.
  • Try the faster route -apply for the working holiday, don’t tick ‘no’ to working in childcare. Your application will be processed as a routine case. When you enter Canada with your LOI, you will be issued a RESTRICTED work permit so you may work in any field except childcare, healthcare or teaching.  Contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Centre where you will get medical examination forms and further instructions, then CIC will modify your Work Permit and remove the occupational restrictions and then you can work as an au pair in Canada. Voila.


Au pair in Canada General Requirements


Topic Au pair in Canada – Working Holiday Visa Au pair in Canada – Live-in Care Giver Program
Age 18-30 or 35 depending on nationality No age limit
Pocket Money An Au Pair MUST be paid at LEAST the minimum wage as prescribed by each province. $10.45-$13 per hour. To be negotiated
Working hours, free time and holidays To be negotiated. As a guide around 35 hours per week and holidays to be calculated at 2 weeks for every 6 months worked. To be negotiated
Accommodation and meals An au pair in Canada is provided with a private, lockable room in the family home with all meals provided for on a daily basis. Families may deduct a minimal portion of the hourly wage for room and board. An au pair in Canada is provided with a private, lockable room in the family home. The host family may deduct a fee for board and lodging from your wages
Travel costs A working holiday maker must pay for their own travel costs. The host family is responsible for one way travel costs from the au pair’s country of residence to the host families’ home in Canada. If the au pair is already in Canada, the host family is responsible for the au pair’s transportation costs to their house.
Language skills and courses An au pair in Canada must be able to speak, read and understand English or French. Attending a language course is not required An au pair in Canada must be able to speak, read and understand English or French. Attending a language course is not required
Length of stay Varies depending on country of origin (ranging from 12-24 months) Up to 4 years and 3 months
Insurances An au pair in Canada is required to have their own comprehensive private insurance, including medical, hospitalisation and repatriation cover as well as liability insurance for the duration of their stay. The host family must provide health care insurance until the au pair is eligible for provincial / territorial health care insurance. The host family must also register the au pair for Workplace Safety Insurance at no cost to the au pair.
Au pair in Canada Job duties Childcare including babysitting up to 2 nights per week and light housework, Childcare and light housework – babysitting optional. Bringing children to and from day care.
Your new au pair Canada flag!
The Canadian Flag

So as you can take from what you have read so far Canada is not like other countries to travel to work in and no matter what country you are from, even the USA, you will require a work visa. If you are an EU citizen and looking to au pair London or looking for something more romantic like au pair Paris you would not require any visa so count your blessings. Canada has always been and will always be tough to get into and just to bear in mind that the Working Holiday Visa or IEC program has a quota of visas issued per year per country, usually in 2 rounds. Ireland gets 3,800 per year and the UK gets about 5,500. Australia gets unlimited quota. These are all on a first come first served basis.


Make sure you plan ahead and keep an eye on the CIC website to see when the visas will be available and be prepared and act fast. Once you do this and follow the steps above you will be on your way to Canada. When you have your visa secured then you should to start your search for host families and the adventure will become a reality. Remember Canada is a vast country with very extreme weather conditions so choose your location wisely.


A quick look at the temperatures in a few cities



Temperature (°C) J F M A M J J A S O N D
Maximum -5 -4 2 11 19 24 26 25 20 13 5 -3
Minimum -14 -13 -6 1 7 13 15 14 10 4 -1 -10
Mean -10 -8 -2 6 13 18 21 19 15 8 2 -6




Temperature (°C) J F M A M J J A S O N D
Maximum -5 -3 2 11 19 23 26 25 20 13 5 -2
Minimum -14 -13 -6 1 7 13 15 14 9 4 -1 -10
Mean -9 -8 -1 6 13 18 21 19 15 8 2 -6




Temperature (°C) J F M A M J J A S O N D
Maximum -2 -1 4 12 19 24 27 26 21 15 7 0
Minimum -10 -9 -3 1 8 13 16 15 11 5 0 -6
Mean -6 -5 0 7 13 19 22 20 16 10 4 -2


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46° F

Behind the scenes of live in nanny jobs

Live In Nanny Jobs Surrey


  • £120.00 per day
  • Virginia Water
  • 25 August
  • 29 applications

Job Description for Full-time Live-in Nanny for family with two daughters based in Virginia Water, Surrey. Summary:- An UHNW private family based in Virginia Water, Surrey are looking to take on a live-in Nanny to help with the child-care of their two daughters (aged 8yrs and 6yrs). The right candidate…


Live-in Nanny Housekeeper for young family in Weybridge.


  • £80.00 per day
  • Weybridge
  • Today
  • 0 applications

Job Description for long term Live-in Nanny Housekeeper for young family in Weybridge. Summary:- This position is a lovely position with a young and ‘hip’ family They have two beautiful children and they are looking for a fabulous live in to help with the children and the chores. The family are offering…


These are just 2 quick samples of the types of nanny and live in nanny jobs that appear on in a quick search where I picked the United Kingdom as my country of choice to work in. There are multiple websites and recruitment agencies whose sole purpose is to make money in positioning nannies with families in need. I chose Reed recruitment as they must pay most for SEO as they appeared on the top of the pile – plus they have a worldwide presence and are also very reputable. They don’t however just specialise in positioning nannies so if you wanted a more hands on boutique style agency who’s niche was in Childcare again revert to Google and narrow your search.

If you searched for just jobs London on the Reed Recruitment site you would get results for accounting jobs, teaching jobs, banking jobs. However if you were to go to a site like you would quickly know this was a childcare site geared towards both parents and childcarers. I have elaborated on nanny services and how to choose between nanny finding websites and nanny agencies in another article HERE and also in the ins and outs of a live in nanny so I won’t repeat myself but instead in this post will try and look at things from the nannies perspective a bit more.

live in nanny jobs
Mary Poppins probably the most famous Nanny

I found this extract from a Day in the Life of a Nanny living in Paris France – this will give anyone toying with the idea of becoming a live in nanny what is involved and what to expect.


A Day in the Life of a Nanny by Odette


So many people have asked me what exactly I do out here so I figured that I'd give you a brief run-down on my typical day.

I work Monday to Friday. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday go something like this:

I start work at 8am, which means that I get up at 7:50, throw on clothes and go downstairs to the family's apartment. There I do everything from getting the girls (little R, 4 Yrs old and Big R. 5 almost 6 yrs old) dressed (trust me this job is probably the toughest because they are tired and grouchy and mesmerized by the TV) to feeding the baby. Before I leave I have to make sure that the following things get done:

- Girls: dressed, fed, teeth brushed, hair brushed with their shoes and coats on ready to go
- Baby: dressed, fed, clean, lunch put together (consists of 1 baby food plate, 2 yogurts and 1 compote), Coat (hat, mittens      and scarf) on ready to go
- Kitchen clean (clean up after the parents and the kids)
- Girls' room clean (I make the beds put away all the toys etc.)

THEN at normally 9 -9:15 me and the baby head out to daycare.
Drop baby at Daycare, go home shower (normally this brings me to 10 - 10:45)
At this point I usually go back to sleep, but if I am feeling okay I will sometimes go for a walk or go to the market and buy veggies and fruit. Sometimes I go visit friends or watch a movie. Mondays I do laundry so I am normally home all day.

At 15:30 I go pick the baby up at daycare then go pick up the girls at school. They each go to different schools. Little R goes to Maternelle, so I have to pick her up at 16:20 take the baby out of the stroller and carry him upstairs to Little R's class to get her. Then I attempt to get Little R to follow me so that we can pick up her sister around the corner for 16:30. However Little R takes her sweet time and never hurries up so I am always panicking about missing Big R. Big R is in CP around the corner and her school lets out at 16:30 and she just walks out on her own.

By 16:45 I have all 3 kids and at this point we'll either go to the park, the library or home. We play for about an hour (Big R and I do her homework, which can take anywhere from 5 mins to an hour depending on how big the fit she throws is) and then I get the bath ready and give the baby his bath. The girls take their baths after the baby and I feed the baby and make the girls' dinner. Dinner usually consists of a vegetable of some sort, a starch (pasta or rice) and meat or something containing meat (ie Steak hachee, crepes, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, chicken...)

By 19:00 I normally have the girls eating and at some point the parents get home. If Mme R is the one that gets home I get to leave right away, if it is M. R then I need to stay and help. Normally by 20:00 I am off. At this point I either eat and go to my room or I go out with friends for drinks or to the Opera or something. In any case I get to bed around 23:00 - 1:30.

Wednesdays all 3 kids are with me all day (no school for the girls), so I just try to plan activities and keep them sane all day.

Thursdays after school I get to drop Little R off at Judo, which is a positive thing because she has the most amazingly gorgeous Judo instructor in the world. Aaahhhh. I look forward to Thursdays all week.

Saturdays and Sundays I normally spend doing nothing. I have brunch with friends, go for walks, go to museums etc. etc. I love it! Normally at night I go out and total chaos ensues.

That is my typical week in a nutshell. No week is ever typical though. Lately Mme R has been working from home so I don't have to get up every morning (I sleep in till like 11) and sometimes I go out of town for the weekend and so I get to take some days off (Thursday Friday for example). My life is pretty cushy I am not gonna lie! So I love Paris, I love my life here. With that said I really have to go start living said life. So peace!


Each nanny’s responsibilities are unique and will be negotiated with the family or employer prior to placement.

Your live in nanny salary will depend on your age, childcare experience, education, and the contract with your employers. Somewhere in the region of $8-$15 per hour if in the USA or in the UK £300-£350 net per week for experienced nannies. There are some minimum requirements that you should try to obtain to make yourself as employable as possible and to guarantee yourself not just summer jobs but permanent well paid positions with career prospects if not as a live in nanny then in other childcare jobs.

Live in Nanny jobs Requirements:  These may change or vary if you go through recruitment agencies or use nanny services, but these will be what you should strive to achieve and have prepared in advance so you are ready to start as soon as possible.


I have adapted these for both US and UK markets.

  • High school diploma or completed School.
  • One year or more experience in daycare, a year or more experience as a nanny (other than family), having or working on a degree in a child-related field i.e. child development, teaching, child & family services, etc. Solely babysitting experience or minor childcare experience would not suffice.
  • Have very good English
  • No dependents.
  • First Aid or CPR certificates.
  • Willing to sign a contract for a minimum of one year and be prepared to work a minimum of 40 hours per week. Exceptions: summer nanny jobs or temporary nannies.
  • S. citizenship or have a working visa for the United Kingdom (if required).
  • Possess a valid and preferably clean driver’s license a big bonus.
  • Being in good health.
  • Have a minimum of 2 childcare references that can be verified. These can include previous nanny experience, daycare experience, teaching experience, home childcare experiences and also two character references.
  • A police check or criminal record check must be performed in the home country of any applicant who will be working as a Live in Nanny or Nanny.
  • It is now a legal requirement that Nannies working with children under the age of 18 obtain a United Kingdom Criminal Record Bureau check, after they have been resident in the UK for six months. Criminal background checks will also be needed for the US and social security checks.
  • Most families nowadays require non-smokers.
live in nanny jobs pay
Pay day! – nanny salary.
 Some of the benefits of a nanny job or I suppose the requirements your employer should provide:


  • Pay your tax contributions – your new employer will pay your tax contributions so you can build up your tax credits.
  • Pay your National Insurance contributions
  • Have an employment contract – offers you security plus there are no misunderstandings in terms of both parties responsibilities.
  • Receive payslips – so you can see all your earnings and deductions.
  • You should earn the minimum national wage – in the UK this is £6.50 per hour. You will be paid more than this but just to be aware – live in nanny salary is about £300-£350 per week.
  • Live-in nannies’ salaries include room and board. A separate bedroom is provided for the nanny’s privacy. Most families also provide a private bathroom or one shared with the children. Own TV and wifi are also the norm.
  • Paid annual leave – minimum 4 weeks paid leave.
  • Pension – In the UK as a nanny you earn more than £10,000 per year and are over 22 years old your employer is required by law to set up a pension scheme for you. Contributions start at 1% of a nanny’s gross salary until September 2017 (along with a 0.8% nanny contribution and 0.2% by the government). An employer’s contribution will rise to 3% by 2018.
  • Entitled to notice of termination of employment – during the first month this is 1 week and thereafter it is one months’ notice by both parties – make sure to get this in your contract just in case things don’t pan out like you though they would.
  • Minimum working hours – 9-10 hours per day with no more than 48 hours per, unless you both agree on longer hours in advance (again try get this in writing).
  • Maternity rights – If you fall pregnant while working for your family you are entitled to maternity leave and full statutory rights.
  • Medical Insurance – Some families contribute toward medical insurance, but it is not a requirement, but bring it up in the interview and they might agree – if you don’t ask!!
  • Travel – Some families may need you, their nanny to accompany them in travel. This is not usually a requirement but can be a plus for those nannies that enjoy travel.

There are many obligations that families or your future employers must comply with so get to know your rights and what is expected from families.

Like what you have read? get to travel the world more or less for free and stay with some great families in good locations – remember you are not forced to commit to any family so you are deciding where you will work and live so this is a great plus. If you want to live and work in London, then look for London jobs, if it is New York or Paris then try there, there are huge benefits of a nanny job and this can open doors to other childcare and childminding positions. So you are probably wondering how to become a nanny? If so then read on 7 step guide on how to become a nanny.

If you have any stories or experiences you would like to share drop us a line on your Contact form.

Au pair Ireland. Why Ireland?

So why pick Ireland? Fascinating history, gorgeous landscapes and it’s in the Euro zone make Ireland very appealing to foreign students to au pair and study abroad.  Ireland has an International reputation for higher education and language schools and you will find great cities to live and study in with host families, from Dublin in the East to Galway in the West.

a must read for any au pair ireland
A must have for anyone considering Au pair Ireland

The Irish were rated as the friendliest nation of people in the world by Lonely Planet. Need we say more? Oh, and their accents have been known to entice many an au pair or  international student into staying well beyond the end of their visit or course. It’s fair to say that the Irish are well known for their hospitality.

In one of my other articles what are considered childcare jobs I went through in general what an au pair is or does and usually it doesn’t differ much from country to country.

I will just run through being an au pair Ireland:

  • What’s expected
  • Hours and salary
  • Length of stay
  • Benefits
  • Studying in Ireland – learning English.

What’s expected: You will be expected to have some childcare experience from babysitting to any further childcare qualifications after all you will have sole responsibility for the children and their well being. All kinds of childcare, dressing, bathing, entertaining, simple meals, babysitting and helping with homework. You will or may also be expected to undertake light housework, which may include washing, cleaning, ironing, dusting, hovering, simple cooking or other duties. You will be treated as a contributing adult member of the family.

Hours and salary: You will provide 35-40 hours of child-minding per week and will babysit for no more than 2 nights per week. In return you will get free board with your own room, use of a bathroom, wifi and all your cooked meals daily. You will make lifelong friends, experience a new culture and improve your English. You will get pocket money also €110 per week for a full au pair or a Demi au pair will get €70 per week.

A demi au pair is more or less the same as an au pair but you work less hours, 15-20 per week and hence get less pay. You would still be required for babysitting 1-2 nights per week. A demi au pair may suit a family with older children who only need a small amount of supervision after school perhaps to help with homework or a family in which one of the parents is in the home full time. A demi au pair position may suit an au pair who is studying or wants to do an intensive language course.

I would recommend discussing this option with your nanny services or employment agencies, au pair agency if you are using one to see if they do demi au pairs and what the downsides might be – sometimes demi au pairs opt to live outside of your home and just arrive for work, not dissimilar to a nanny. Searching the internet for ‘au pair Dublin’ or ‘au pair jobs Ireland’ will yield you plenty of results of various au pair agencies based in Dublin, Ireland or just in Ireland in general and you will be able to register yourself with some of these agencies to better your chances of finding your dream host family.

Just be aware that they are not doing this out of the goodness of their heart and there will be a fee associated with registering. Usually €50 to register and then there is a finder’s fee once your get a placement in or around €150-€200. Not all employment agencies deal with or specialise in positioning au pairs or nannies and it is advisable that you have some work lined up prior to travelling. If you are arriving to Ireland on a cultural care programme, then this will all be organised in advance for you.

au pair Ireland daily diet
Calling all au pairs …your new drink.

Length of stay: Au pairs can stay with a host family from a minimum of 3 months, for a summer au pair, also called summer nanny jobs, to a maximum of 2 years. As an au pair programme or exchange is like a cultural exchange programme (I will touch on this further below in benefits) as opposed to a long-term career, usually an au pair placement will last between 6 months and 1 year. Au pair’s from EU states can travel to another EU state country without the need for a visa. Non-EU au pairs who come to an EU state to be an au pair will need to check the length of issue of their visa to determine the length they can stay. In most cases this will and should be ironed out prior to commencing and for the host family in particular this will play a huge part in the decision making when choosing an au pair. You want to try and avoid disruption in the routine of your family, especially if you have very young children.

Benefits: The pros of becoming an au pair Ireland mainly will be travelling to a foreign country you have never been to before; perhaps it’s your first time away for a long period on your own, learning a foreign language – in this case it is English as this is the spoken language in Ireland. When you travel to a foreign country like Ireland as an au pair you will not only get to see the country as if you were a tourist you will also get to see the culture and taste the food, Irish stew, cabbage and bacon, black pudding…yum and become totally immersed in the core of family life and experience Irish sports like Gaelic football and hurling. There are not many experiences that will allow you to get as close and to know the country and its people as an au pair experience will. You will get to broaden your horizons, meet new people, learn a new language and socialise with like-minded people and make lifelong friendships and have some craic along the way!

I will just step away from Ireland on this for a sec and just look an au pairing in general. From a career point of view it is not an option but as a ticket to travel the world to get to see new places, experience new cultures and meet new people it has unrivalled competition. Most of the time you don’t even need employment agencies or nanny services to secure a job, it can come from word of mouth or just free posts on the Internet ( just be careful). In a lot of countries like Ireland where you search general terms like ‘ jobs Ireland’ for the last few years during a recession these have become very slim – but not for au pair or nannies, still in high demand. An au pair can be a stepping stone to a career in childcare where the world is your oyster.

Below is a Youtube clip from an Au Pair Ireland experience


Studying in Ireland – learning English: One of your main purposes when travelling as an au pair to Ireland will be to improve your English be it oral and written or either or. You must try organise with your host family in advance your duties around your language classes. Normally you will attend two classes a week but this is totally up to you as at the end of the day you will be the one paying for the classes yourself. You should never be asked to work at a time you have classes. There are a large number of English language schools in Ireland with a lot catering solely to au pairs. You should consult with your host family in making the decision as they will know the lie of the land and also make sure it is in a safe neighbourhood for you to commute to and from, it can get dark in Ireland at 4pm in wintertime.

I came across this in my research and found if very informative.

Advise for English language students:

The Irish Government is introducing new legislation for English language courses in Ireland – for the better. Basically all courses and schools will have to be fully accredited with ACELS from 1st Oct 2015.

They have also issued a warning concerning some colleges which are advertising at present and are not complainant – ‘If it looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.” ICOS strongly warns all students to avoid buying courses that have not been quality assured in Ireland by ACELS.


Although there are no visa issues for EU students, ICOS still suggests that you think about the new policy if you plan to book with a private college. Ask about how many of its students are from the EU and consider the information below.


At present, a number of private colleges rely almost exclusively on recruiting non-EEA students on one year visas to English language programmes which are not accredited in Ireland. ICOS believes that most colleges like this cannot expect to have their courses appear on the ILEP on 1st October and will decide to close, either before or soon after this date. Almost all such colleges have no meaningful learner protection. If one of these college closes, the students – both EU and non-EU – will lose their fees. See full link here

Do some research on Ireland as a country, see what au pair agencies or websites, nanny services and jobs Ireland in general that are out there or as I mentioned above start off getting summer nanny jobs and go from there. You won’t look back and it will be an experience of a long time. I know I would if I could have done it.


Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Chance of Rain
Chance of Rain

How to choose the best nanny services for you and your family

You are both working parents and your maternity leave is up and you have to return to work, you have done your research and decided that a nanny or a live in nanny (haven’t decided that crucial piece yet) will work best for you and your family, especially your child, but how do you go about choosing the best nanny services? How do you decide between nanny finding websites and nanny agencies?

What do you look for in nanny services?


What questions do you ask them if and when you meet up? This person will after all be helping you raise your child or children; they will play a huge role in their behaviour and manners, they will be helping raise your children with you so they should be chosen carefully and respected in their role.

Of all the childcare options available a nanny is the most expensive option so be aware of this from the outset.

Below is an Infographic showing the cost of Childcare and the effects on a family based on living in the USA. taken from

Cost of childcare infographic - nanny services info
Cost of Childcare Infographic

To outline what to expect from a nanny I covered this in one of my other articles The ins and outs of a live in nanny– so I don’t want to repeat myself – have a look at this article also.

In summary a nanny is:


Professional nannies tend to be women between 18 and 50, usually hold a degree in early childhood development or have many years of paid experience and are often members of unions and organisations like the International Nanny Association. They work on a live-in or day-to-day basis, between 40 and 70 hours per week. Most nannies will commit to at least two years, and work about twelve hours daily (often starting with a child’s drop-off at school and ending at tuck-in time). Unlike au pairs, nannies are able to spend as much time as needed with a child, and can incorporate being a babysitter, domestic-care duties, like picking up the dry-cleaning, cooking or washing clothes, into their services.

So you know what a nanny will do and how a nanny will benefit you so now to find an agency or nanny services, but as I mentioned earlier should you decide on a nanny finding website or an agency?

We will look at the two options and let you make an informed decision:

Nanny finding websites and how they work:

In my research I went onto and to see how they work. Basically they act as a partner or a medium in helping you source suitable candidates. These sites are some of many out there and they all differ in what they offer, some are quite broad, covering anything and everything to do with caregiver jobs and some specialise in just nanny services.

 In summary you post a job on their site and they give you a list of suitable people based on your criteria. You then contact your desired candidates – FOR A FEE. It is in the region of $35 per month.


All these types of websites have a way for the caregiver to submit background checks, references and resumes or CV’s. But as these are search/social type sites who is to say that a lot of this information is fully checked and isn’t doctored or faked? You could be hiring in essence a fake to care for your children. I would suggest doing your own checks and ringing up their references to ensure they are who they say they are and have the experience and skills they say they have. These are your children and you must protect your family.

A positive is that this is the cheapest way to find a nanny but you take on all the work.

Nanny agencies and how they work:

Agencies offer a full service approach to finding caregivers and charge a placement or referral fee for their services. They take care of the entire process from finding candidates to screening them, and they guide parents during the hiring process and offer support after placement. In a lot of cases the personal touch is something that can’t be duplicated and what will really set one agency apart from others.

With most nanny services or agencies they either charge a percentage of the annual nanny fees or a flat fee upfront, this can be anything from $900 to $3,000 depending on your location and the type of nanny you require. Some will charge a non-refundable registration fee in the regions of $300 €270 or £200. Discuss the agency fee structure early on in the process and especially their refund of replacement policy, if they have one. Say your nanny quits 2 weeks in do you get your money back? Will they replace her from free?

A positive is they will take on all the work, searching, qualifying and screening BUT you pay for it a lot!

Having a nanny means you are now an employer and with that comes the word we all dread TAX.

This may seems like a lot to take on, but one way of ensuring that everything is done and done properly is to subscribe to a nanny payroll service such as Nannytax. Nannytax has been providing comprehensive and complete payroll administration, providing peace of mind for thousands of nanny employers across the UK for over 20 years.

On the other side of the ocean in the US there are companies like and that take the pain out of all this and make sure everything is done correctly.

tax issues for families that nanny services might not know
A light read! All about filing taxes including nanny tax


There are loads of websites out there to choose from all more or less doing the same thing and as I said earlier definitely ring all reference to make sure all is above board with your candidates.

 But how do you choose a nanny agency? What do you look for?

11 Important questions to help pick the best nanny services for you and your family:


  1. How long has the agency been in business?

New is not bad but long established agencies show success. Long term agencies have a large number of nannies and families on their books and can benefit from repeat business and word of mouth. If you need to replace a nanny a long term agency is more likely to still be in business to cover your guarantee period!

  1. How many nannies do they match in a month or year?

You would like to choose an agency that has enough placements to be a viable business and is likely to be around next year. This will show if they could fulfil their guarantee period in a timely manner. Try find out how many repeats they have-a good sign. 4 -6 placements per employee per month would be the norm.

  1. What is the screening process for nannies?

A good agency will verify the employment history of prospective nannies, and generally contact (via phone) some or all of the personal references provided. A telephone call is more trustworthy and you can gather more information. Detailed applications and in-depth personal interviews with applicants are very important. Criminal and driving checks are generally mandatory – but check this. You should expect that the agency will share with you, in writing, the results of the pre-screening, including the interviewer’s impressions. You should also check the references of any candidate you genuinely feel you will make an offer to. A social security trace will verify that the applicant’s name matches their social security number and can provide a more complete history of where an applicant has lived.

Inquire about the specifics of the criminal background checks being done. This is VERY important, as the quality of this service varies tremendously among agencies. Read these FAQ’s from nannyverify here and for UK purposes check with level of CDB check is used

  1. Is there a screening process for families? If so what?

Is there a house inspection? Are the families interviewed in their house? Does the family have to provide references of checks?

  1. What are the fees? Is there a refund policy?

Fees can vary considerably from country to country and in fact from county to county, and you should clearly understand the sign up fees and fee payment policies. Typically new agencies will have the lowest fees in the market; this is to a) make a break through into the market and b) to offset the perceived inexperience. Refund policies vary also. Many agencies will pro-rate their fee on unsuccessful placements, others will never refund but might agree to replace the candidate at no cost within a limited period of time. Whatever the policy, make sure you understand it and that you get it in writing. The better and more established agencies will make every effort to please the client, providing that the client’s expectations are equally reasonable. There should be no fees to nannies.

  1. What are the minimum qualification required for nannies to be consider by the agency?

Most agencies differ on the child care and related employment experience they require of nannies. These are crucial indicators of how likely a nanny will be to succeed in the job. Discuss this with the agency as their criteria might not meet your requirements.

  1. Do you have training or support programmes for the nannies?

Try and find an agency that will organise First Aid or CPR training, arrange an annual picnic for the nannies to get together, or provide the newly placed nanny with a contact list of some of their other local nannies. Look for the agency that provides the nanny with written material to help her adjust to her job … job description, a daily log format, child development milestones, toilet training tips, and things of that nature. This shows the commitment of the agency to the nanny, a commitment that will translate into experienced nannies who will return to that agency over and over.

  1. What is a typical salary for a nanny from that agency?

Salaries that are on the low end may indicate an agency is referring less qualified nannies than other agencies. Some agencies quote low salaries to families and higher salaries to nannies to get them to sign to their agency. An experienced, established agency should have the most accurate knowledge of the market and salaries on offer and be able to prove what they pay.

  1. What is the average length of stay of nannies from the agency?

If the agency is doing a thorough job of screening and matching nannies and families, the average placement should last well over a year. The average placement for nanny services is 2 years. Like most things in life what you put in is what you get out, so if you look after your nanny and get on well they could stay much much longer – if needed! Ask how the agency tracks their placements.

  1. Can the AGENCY provide references?

References can be a good way to determine if an agency gave you honest answers to some of the above questions. A good agency should have a large network of satisfied nannies and families whom are willing to give references. Like checking nanny references pick up the phone and talk to these people.

  1. Does the agency have any professional affiliations?

A professional agency knows that maintaining membership in one or more professional associations helps them stay up to date on the latest trends and issues in the nanny industry. Among these are the International Nanny Association, The Association for Professional Nannies, the Alliance of Premier Nanny Agencies, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). For Canada jobs, Canadian Nanny Association. Many agencies are also active members of their local Chambers of Commerce, or similar small business associations.


Once you know you will know you know, it will come down to maybe the smallest thing or the friendliest person, like I said earlier the personal touch is what can jump out – if you can put money aside and think about what is best for the children then you will make the right decision.

Getting a new nanny will be like getting a new friend, a permanent babysitter, so Mummy & Daddy can get out again!! yippee , a big sister for the children ( depending on her age!!) someone to do the homework, do the school runs or collect from day care, if you can still afford to send them! And your own personal chef.

I wonder if there are people reading this going to google ‘how to become a nanny’ or how to become a nanny for a rich family so they can start or investigate a new career opportunity in childcare, either way best of luck to all families going down this road and anyone starting off as a nanny.