Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said the government expects 1,500 to 2,000 au pair deployments this year based on figures from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

He also urged Filipinos to take advantage of the recent lifting of the ban on “au pairs” for all European countries.

“I believe the lifting of the ban on ‘au pairs’ would facilitate the establishment of education and employment opportunities in Europe for Filipinos,” Binay said.

“We also simplified the procedures for the departure of au pairs and the documentary requirements have been scaled down to the minimum,” he added.

Binay previously met with officials from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Education (DepEd), Bureau of Immigration and the CFO to discuss the new guidelines on au pairs and how to provide them with safety nets for their protection without restricting their rights to self-improvement.

Under the new guidelines, departing au pairs need only to submit the following to the Bureau of Immigration at the port of departure: a contract of engagement duly authenticated by the Philippine embassy or consulate general in the area of destination, valid passport with au pair visa, and a CFO certificate/sticker.

Au pairs also need not go through the DOLE or POEA procedures anymore, as they are not considered overseas Filipino workers.

However, Binay warned au pairs not to go to third-party go-betweens, at the same time warning unscrupulous agencies not to exploit the scheme.

“I have instructed the IACAT (Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking) to monitor the au pair program and ensure that those who join do not become victims of trafficking syndicates or illegal recruiters,” he said.

The Philippines stopped sending au pairs to Europe in 1997 after the DFA received reports of maltreatment including unfair compensation, excessive working hours, discrimination and sexual assault. In 2010, the ban was partially lifted in Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.

Last Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario announced that the Philippines lifted its ban on “au pairs” for all European countries as it was able to craft improved safety nets and protection policies for Filipinos who will be hired for the job.

“Au pair” is a French term that translates to “on par” or “equal to”. Filipinos under the au pair program “live on an equal basis in a reciprocal, caring relationship” with their host families. The intent is for the foreigner to be at par or equal to locals, by being treated as a member of the family instead of a domestic servant.

Au pairs normally perform house work and child care. While not receiving a formal salary, they receive monetary allowance from their host families.