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On equal terms?
An evaluation of the Norwegian au pair scheme

Cecilie Øien

Fafo-report 2009:29

Nettutgave

This report is the outcome of an evaluation of the Norwegian au pair scheme. The main objectives of the evaluation have been to uncover whether (or not) the scheme is practised according to its original intentions, and whether the changes introduced to the scheme in 2007 have generated the desired effects. The basic aim of the evaluation has thus been to give a comprehensive assessment of the au pair scheme, and furthermore to see whether additional changes are needed other than those already put in place in 2007. The report describes the strategies and motivations of au pairs and host families, and discusses how contact is established between them. There has been a considerable increase in the number of au pairs in Norway, from 691 in 2000 to 2860 in 2008, with Filipinos representing the largest group. The majority of au pairs are female, and only a small proportion of applicants are men, making au pairing a form of female-dominated employment involving what has traditionally been the responsibility of women within the household, namely housework and care work. The report examines the increase in numbers and the fact that third country nationals today dominate the scheme. It also debates whether au pairs and host families see au pair placement as a cultural exchange scheme in accordance with the original intentions, or as a form of employment. In addition, the report offers a brief description of the conditions for au pair placement in the UK, Denmark and Poland as a comparison to the situation in Norway. In light of these various issues, the evaluation offers policy recommendations for improvements and changes to the structural framework of au pair placement.

Utgitt: 2009 Id-nr.: 20119