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

Download evaluation report of Norwegian au pair scheme

Download evaluation report of Norwegian au pair scheme

FAFO, an independent and multidisciplinary research foundation in Norway, has launched its evaluation of the Norwegian au pair scheme today, August 19, 2008.

The Norwegian au pair scheme is primarily defined as an arrangement to facilitate cultural experience and exchange, which allows young people to increase their language ability and gain greater knowledge of Norway and Norwegian culture by living with a Norwegian family. In return, the au pairs carry out tasks such as housework and childminding for their host family.  Many though, in particular those coming from developing countries like the Philippines, come with added hopes and intentions of finding a way out of poverty or financial difficulty at home, in their country.

In Norway, the Filipinos represent the majority of au pairs despite the present ban on the deployment of au pairs from the Philippines. This ban makes au pairs more vulnerable to all sorts of abuses, both in the Philippines and in their host country. Traveling as au pair means traveling without security, since holders of au pair visas are neither registered by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO)nor by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

During the launching of the report, State Secretary Libe Rieber-Mohn, Norway’s State Secretary for integration, immigration and diversity matters, said that there is an on-going negotiations between Norway and The Philippines and the goal is to establish a bi-lateral agreement between the two countries.  This negotiation will continue in autumn.  If  no agreement is reached, there is a chance that Norway will follow the Wien convention and respect Filipino law regarding a ban on travelling abroad as an au pair.

FAFO states in their website, www.fafo.no, that the new report  “On Equal Terms?” is the outcome of an evaluation made by FAFO’s researcher, Cecille Øien, of the Norwegian au pair scheme.

Fafo-report 2009:29
Cecilie Øien

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

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.

Allegedly, it is not only Norwegian politicians, but also some Danish politicians, who have waited for this report.  This signifies that the outcome of this evaluation report in Norway, will most likely affect the danish au pair scheme. Hence, affecting most the Filipina au pairs who also represent the majority of au pairs in Denmark.

You can download the report in pdf here: “ON EQUAL TERMS? – An evaluation of the Norwegian au pair scheme”

Fafo is an independent and multidisciplinary research foundation focusing on social welfare and trade policy, labor and living conditions, public health, migration and integration, and transnational security and development issues. Fafo works within both a domestic Norwegian and larger international context.
– Information relayed to Babaylan DK by Raymond M. Kristiansen of
Au Pinoy magazine for Filipino au pairs.
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