Au pairs

Au pairs often come to the Netherlands for cultural exchange. To do so, they need a residence permit from the IND. 

Would you like to come to the Netherlands a an au pair? Then you need a residence permit from the IND. Read more about this on the page Residence permit au pair.


The IND receives residence applications from au pairs via au pair agencies. They are so-called recognised sponsors: organisations, companies, or institutions that act as an intermediary for a foreign national’s arrival. Subsequently, the IND checks whether the au pair is really entitled to a residence permit for up to 1 year.

If the au pair (someone from outside the EU) needs a provisional residence permit (in Dutch: machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf or MVV) to come to the Netherlands, the au pair agency applies for an MVV for entry and residence (in Dutch: Toegang en Verblijf or TEV). This is not necessary for countries without an MVV requirement or if the au pair already has a residence document from a Schengen country. Then it is enough to apply for a regular residence permit.

Cultural exchange

The purpose of residence as an au pair in the Netherlands is to learn more about Dutch society and culture. Currently, the au pair must be aged between 18 and 25, live with a host family and participate in family life. In this way, the au pair and host family can learn about their respective cultures.

An au pair´s tasks

The host family must provide the au pair with board and lodging. The au pair must also receive an allowance to explore the Netherlands. In return for this, the au pair must carry out up to 30 hours of light household duties per week and help to take care of the children. Other requirements an au pair must meet are provided on our website here.

Figures au pairs per year

Number of residence permits

  2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total 1,400 1,470 1,200 1,380 1,630


Top 5 nationalities

  2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Filipino 440 470 440 500 580
South-African 360 360 310 340 390
Brazilian 180 160 110 110 150
Thai 40 60 50 70 70
Indonesian 50 50 40 30 60

Signals of abuse

In recent years, several dozens of cases of abuse of the au pair scheme were reported. Many au pairs were said to work more than 30 hours a week and had to carry out heavy household duties. Moreover, au pairs are often in a dependent situation or come to the Netherlands to earn money for their family in their home country. For this reason, au pairs would be reluctant to report abuse of the residency scheme.

Au pair agencies are not authorised to monitor compliance with the rules in host families. The police and Dutch Labour Inspectorate are allowed to carry out inspections in case of suspected abuse.But for this, authorisation is needed from the public prosecutor to enter a house. Just like au pair agencies, the IND is not authorised to carry out inspections, but we can revoke an au pair’s residence permit. This can also prevent au pairs from reporting breach of the rules.

New rules

To protect the cultural nature of the au pair scheme, former Minister Broekers-Knol announced new rules in November 2021. They must limit financial dependence on the au pair scheme and counter abuse. First, an au pair will soon no longer be allowed to be married and have children or foster children. Au pairs must submit a single status declaration and their own statement of non-parenthood. The au pair agency will be responsible for assessing these statements. The IND will make extra efforts to inform au pair agencies about this.

Second, persons aged 25 and over will no longer be allowed to use the au pair scheme in the future. Older au pairs are relatively more likely to have children or partners who depend on their income. This makes abuse of the au pair scheme more likely. In the period of 2011 to 2020, around a quarter of au pair applications were from persons older than 25.

Important topics

National highly skilled migrant scheme

The IND processes applications for residency of highly skilled migrants in the Netherlands. It concerns people who can contribute to the Dutch knowledge economy with specific knowledge or skills. There are various schemes for people who want to work…

Penalties and the IND

If someone applies for residency in the Netherlands, the IND must decide on this application within a certain period. This is the legal decision period. If the IND does not decide within this legal period, we may have to pay a sum of money to the…

National security

The IND is on the alert for risks and threats to national security when assessing applications for residency. For example terrorism. The IND can also take measures that help to protect national security.