Who is an au pair? What is an au pair? Why au pair?
An au pair is a young single person between the ages of 18 – 25 who lives with a family in a country other than his or her own for a maximum of 12 months, helps with general housework and childcare in exchange for room, board and pocket money (stipend). The au pair program is one of cultural exchange and the au pair is given the opportunity to learn a foreign language and to experience the culture of the country that he/she is in. In return, the au pair will be asked to perform general household duties (washing and tidying up, laundry, ironing, cooking etc.) and to take care of children during a limited number of hours a day and/or baby-sit at night. The au pair is not an employee but a member of the family and will be treated as such.
There’s just something about Belgium! Maybe it’s the friendly & welcoming people who with three official languages still find it easy to converse in English, the 4th unofficial language. Maybe it’s the stunning architecture decorating the quaint cobblestone squares. Or perhaps it’s the incredible cuisine found in the vast array of restaurants where each meal seems better than the last. Energetic and carefree, the overall mood in Belgium is infectious, summoning in all of us to live as Belgians and enjoy life to the fullest.
Well situated between France and Holland, the Kingdom of Belgium encompasses all the best that Europe has to offer. Within the span of one day you can take a romantic cruise, hunt for diamonds, enjoy waffles, frolic in a festival in Binche, get lost in a castle in Namur, discover antiques at an outdoor market in Liege, and explore a fine art museum in Brussels. A dense train network connects all of Belgium and makes navigation simple and comfortable for travelers. Often called the Essence of Europe, Belgium is both multicultural and multilingual. Flanders in the north, a flatland criss-crossed by canals, is proud of its medieval art cities, Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent. To the south in Wallonia, you will find the rolling hills of the Ardennes, countless castles, and the cities of Liege, Namur, and Tournai. The city of Brussels is one of the world’s great cosmopolitan capitals, home to both the European Union and NATO, as well as a wealth of international trade and finance companies.
Belgium’s history has always been linked to both commercial and cultural exchange, and much of its character is due to its role as the great meeting place of Western Europe. It would be difficult to name a European country that didn’t want to stake their claim in Belgium at one time or another. Traces of the Austrians, Spanish, French and Dutch can still be seen in its architecture and in the lifestyle of its people. You will see superb examples of art and architecture past and present – Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and art nouveau.
Somehow, Belgium has maintained a low-key approach to all of this international sophistication. It is a country for connoisseurs, but connoisseurs who do not take themselves too seriously because the Belgians themselves certainly do not. And after all this we didn’t even mention the beer and chocolate.
Is Belgium flat? The area in the North, called Low Belgium, is very flat with sandy beaches, polders and small hills rising to about 60m. The area in the centre known as middle Belgium has some rolling hills and rover valleys, while the area in the French Speaking South referred to as High Belgium rises to approx. 700 meter above sea level at the Signal de Botrange in the wild Hautes Fagnes region.
What does the Au Pair in Belgium Program include?
The host family provides the au pair with a satisfactory private room. It will, be properly furnished, clean and pleasant. The hosting au pair agency always views the available rooms and facilities before an au pair placement is made. Many families will provide their au pair with phone/computer facilities, as well as a TV (minimum requirement) and radio/CD player. If such private facilities cannot be provided, the au pair will have access to these facilities in the living room or common areas, like any other member of the family would. As mentioned, the host family also provides the au pair with full board, however that does not mean that the au pair is entitled to her own private weekly shopping list of organic foods, exotic fruits and prime cuts of beef… It means that the au pair is to join in with family meals and eat the foods that are bought by the family. Eating meals with the host family is an important part of cultural exchange for both parties. It enables both the au pair and the host parents to review the daily activities and to get to know one another a lot better.
Besides the room and board you receive from your host family, the au pair program includes more than that. The average stipend in Belgium for approx. 20 hrs a week of help, is currently € 450 month. Furthermore, the family will pay for the au pair’s full medical insurance for the duration of his/her stay and a phone allowance of 10 Euro a month. You are obliged to follow a language course in Belgium. Furthermore, families will help with traveling expenses to and from your home country. In most cases the families will pay for your ticket upfront. This does mean however, that in case you decide not to fulfill the 12 months of the contract, you will need to reimburse the host family for the remainder of the costs pro rata.
We also offer The Orange Au Pair Club to all of our au pairs in Belgium & the Netherlands. Membership is automatic and gives the au pair the opportunity to participate in all of our Orange Au Pair Club outings and allows her to receive our au pair list, welcome package with a manual, information about a language schools as well as support from our agency. Twice a year the host family and their children are also invited to the Orange Au Pair Club activities.
A brief overview of Au Pair benefits:
- Screened and high quality host family
- Au pair agency to answer all your questions before and during your stay
- Membership of the Orange Au Pair Club
- Room and board
- Pocket money per month value € 450
- Insurance cover for 12 months value € 500
- Prepaid flight (provided you stay for 12 months) value € 1000
- Visa for 12 months value € 750
- Phone allowance per month value € 10
- 2 weeks of paid vacation per 12 months
Requirements to Au Pair in Belgium
The requirements of the program are as follows:
- Aged between 18 and 25
- Having some child care or baby-sitting experience
- Having a genuine love and interest for children
- Being able to ride a bike, a driver’s license is not essential but definitely preferred
- Fluent in English
- Good health
- Not married
- No criminal record
- Willingness to explore and experience a different country and culture
How to Apply for the Au Pair Program in Belgium
Documents to be sent immediately:
- Completed Application Form (contact Latitude International to receive this)
- Dear Host Family Letter
- Passport Picture
- References (1 Character and 2 Childcare)
- Photo Collage (5 or 6 Pictures Maximum)
- Diplomas (Translations Only)
- Medical Form
- Signed Au Pair Agreement
- Copy of Passport (First Page)
- Police Clearance
- Copy of Drivers License (If Applicable)
Documents to bring with you to Belgium:
- Original Passport
- International Drivers Licence (If Applicable)
Au Pair Application Process for Belgium
In order to get ready for Belgium, these are the steps that you need to take:
1. Fill out the application form attached & gather all other required documents above
2. Hand in your completed application (this is the official registration) & pay the program application fee $500 CAD
3. Apply for all other official documents that are needed for going to Belgium (visa docs)
4. Match with a family
5. Visa Application
6. Collect your visa and get ready for departure
7. Travel to Belgium
See attached files for application form. Send your completed application by email to Latitude International Education. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
Working Holiday Visa Belgium – General Information
Young Canadian nationals wishing to take advantage of the provisions of this Agreement must meet the following conditions:
- to have the principal purpose of holidaying in Belgium, with the possibility of working only in an accessory capacity
- to be between the ages of 18 and 30 at the time of application
- to not have previously benefited from this Agreement
- to be in possession of a valid Canadian passport
- to hold a valid return ticket or sufficient resources to purchase such a ticket
- to have sufficient financial resources to meet their needs at the beginning of their stay, i.e. a minimum of EUR 2,500
- to have an all-risk insurance for the period authorized to stay and, if not covered by the host country’s social insurance system, have proof of occupational accident coverage and health care insurance, including hospitalization and return home coverage for the duration of the stay
- to have a medical certificate proving that you are not suffering from any disease or infirmity that may endanger public health, order or security (the list of such illnesses is annexed to the Belgian Law of 15 December 1980 on Access to the Territory, Residence, Settlement and Expulsion of Foreign Nationals)
- to be able to produce documentary evidence of good character
- to be domiciled in Canada at the time of the application.
How to apply for the Working Holiday Visa for Belgium
Any interested young Canadian should apply for their long-stay visa (“autorisation de séjour provisoire”/”machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf”) at the Consulate General of Belgium in Montreal in person or by mail at the following address:
Bd de Maisonneuve Ouest 999- Suite 1600
Montréal, Québec H3A-3L4
Phone: 1 (514) 849-7394
Contact Latitude International to receive the visa application form for Belgium. The application shall be accompanied by the following documents:
- three recent passport photographs (colour)
- Canadian passport, valid min. 1 year still, original
- a proof of non-criminal record, issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (GRC) dated within 6 months at the time of the visa application
- a medical certificate issued either by an accredited doctor of medicine or by a family doctor registered to the provincial College of Physicians
- proof of sufficient funds for at least 2,500 EUR for the 3 first months of stay in Belgium - e.g.: 3 most recent bank statements and credit card account statements, cash, or a credit card with a period of validity of at least one year
- a copy of the return ticket
- the original and one copy of medical insurance
- consular fees for a Visa D: $234.00 CAD (this fee may change, check the consular website for details)
- Young Canadians must go to their municipality of residence for registration within eight days following their arrival in Belgium. In case of change of residence during their stay in Belgium they have to inform the administration of the municipalities of departure and arrival. Variable administrative registration costs are to be expected, according to the town hall.
- Young Canadians may, if they so wish engage in study or training programmes in Belgium. The total duration of such programmes, however, may not exceed three months.
- Young Canadians do not need a work permit to exercise an activity as a paid worker in Belgium. Access to some professions, however, may be dependent upon recognition of specific qualifications and any rules to practice in that profession.
- Young Canadians residing in Belgium under the Agreement can obtain additional information by calling the « Telephone Information Unit» of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs (Directorate-General for Consular Affairs) at the following numbers: 02 501 3200
- For the cost of a visa D, please check the list of consular fees (currently $234.00 CAD)
- Processing can take 4 to 6 weeks. The period of validity is six months after the visa has been issued on the passport.
Welcome to Belgium!