POEA 7 says Pinoys found new employment as au pairs in Europe

February 17, 2012 9:14 am 

CEBU CITY, Feb. 16 – Filipinos have found another tempting employment opportunity overseas, that of being an au pair in Europe.

An au pair, a French phrase that means “one par” or “equal to,” refers to someone who helps take care of the children and some household chores in a household in Europe.

While an au pair may be looked on as glorified house help, more and more Filipinos see the position as an opportunity to get out of poverty.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) 7 noted an increasing number of au pair applicants in 2011, mostly for Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway.

The development came after the lifting of the ban on recruitment and deployment of au pairs to some European countries last year.

POEA 7 Regional Director Evelia Durato said the gradual lifting of the au pair ban in selected European countries between late 2010 and early 2011 also contributed to the increase in the number of OFWs during the period.

A total of 39,289 OFWs deployed in 2011, half or 19,516 are in the Middle East.

Asian countries are the second largest employers of OFWs, with 17,877 workers going there.

Another 1,049 workers left for European countries, 809 workers left for North and South American countries, 439 left for African countries and 318 others left for Oceania and Trust Territories, working as skilled and professional workers.

Out of 39,289 OFWs, 35,793 are re-hires.

Although au pairs are deployed under a cultural exchange arrangement in which they are treated as equal by the host family, Durato said au pairs, in reality, are domestic helpers in Europe.

”To be honest about the whole thing, they still work as domestic helpers doing mostly household work and babysitting in the guise of a cultural exchange program,’ she said in an interview on Wednesday.

”But even so, we are happy the ban was lifted because even when the ban was in effect, OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) still leave as au pairs and without protection from the government. At least now, the application goes through POEA and they are given ample protection,” Durato said.

Compared to their counterparts in Hong Kong, Singapore and Arab countries, au pairs in Europe have higher salaries and insurance and other benefits.

”Some of them tell us that within their first deployment, they were already able to buy a new house and they are able to give their family a better life. Unlike domestic helpers, we don’t hear complaints that they were abused,” Durato said.

POEA guidelines state that au pairs stay with a host family for up to two years for cultural and language training.

During the period, they are often tasked to help in child care or light household chores, as stated in their contract with their host family.

Under the POEA guidelines, a Filipino au pair should be between 18 and 30 years old, unmarried and without any children.

The deployment of Filipina au pairs to Europe was banned in 1997 due to reports of maltreatment such as low pay, excessive working hours, discrimination and sexual assault.

But in late 2010, the POEA allowed the deployment of au pairs to Switzerland, Norway and Denmark after these countries guaranteed their protection. (PNA)



Comments are closed.