10 Things to Consider When Hiring a Nanny from Abroad
As they contemplate childcare, many parents consider hiring a nanny from overseas appealing. The thought of having a caregiver who can introduce a new language and culture to their family seems like an added component to their childcare plan.
Unfortunately, hiring a nanny from overseas isn’t as simple as hiring a caregiver from the states.
- Legality– In order to legally accept employment in the United States as a nanny, individuals must be authorized to accept employment in the United States. Employers are legally required to confirm eligibility by completing form I-9, obtained by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services.
- Au pairs – Many parents mistakenly confuse nannies with au pairs. The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs operates the au pair program which allows foreign nationals to enter the United States on a J-1 visa and provide limited childcare to host families in exchange for room and board, a stipend and the experience of American life.
- Overstays –Sometimes an au pair who has come to the United States will not return to her homeland when her visa expires and while here illegally, will look for work as a nanny. If parents are caught hiring a nanny who does not have authorization to legally accept work in the United States, they can face fines and penalized.
- Timing – Because of the length of time it takes to secure proper work authorization for nannies overseas, it’s not typically a feasible option for families. The process of securing work authorization can take from several months to several years.
- Expense – For families wishing to hire a nanny from overseas, the services of an attorney who specializes in immigration law will likely be needed. The legal fees associated with securing sponsorship for a nanny to come to the United States for work can be costly.
- Living status – Nannies who work for families on a live-in basis have been reclassified from unskilled to skilled workers. For some nannies in some countries, securing a visa to work as a live-in nanny in the United States is a little easier.
- Culture– Different cultures care for children differently. What is acceptable in terms of discipline, behavior expectations and developmental milestones in another country may not be acceptable in the United States. Parents considering hiring a nanny from overseas must clearly communicate care giving expectations.
- Safety – Safety standards for children differ around the world. In some countries, putting babies to sleep on their backs or using car seats is not common practice. Parents considering hiring a foreign nanny should ensure they clearly understand appropriate safety measures.
- Language – In addition to the possibility of there being a language barrier between the parents and the caregiver, there may also be a language barrier between the caregiver and the children. An important part of working as a nanny is reading to children, fostering language development, helping with homework and reading instructions on products and medication. For families who have these expectations for their nanny, every effort should be made to ensure the nanny can communicate in the family’s primary language.
- Deportation concerns – For families who opt to hire a foreign nanny illegally, deportation is a real concern. One of the reasons parents hire nannies is for continuity of care. Children develop a close bond with their nannies and the abrupt removal of a nanny from a child’s life can cause significant disruption to the family’s life.
While hiring a foreign nanny can be a unique and valuable experience, it is essential if families opt to hire a nanny from overseas, they do so legally.
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