Pinoys see 'au pair' as chance for better life

by Raquel Bernal-Crisostomo, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Jul 31 2012 11:17 AM | Updated as of Jul 31 2012 07:17 PM

BRUSSELS - Filipino au pairs have started arriving in Belgium after the ban has been lifted last February.

Around 30 young Pinoys are already in the country and have joined their host families since March.

According to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), it was in 1998 when the ban on au pairs bound for Europe was imposed due to isolated cases abuse of system by some unscrupulous people. In 2010, the ban was lifted in Norway, Denmark and Switzerland.

While it is difficult to be away from their families, Pinoy au pairs see the lifting of the ban as an opportunity to seek greener pastures.

Herlyn Ramos, 24, felt she wasn’t compensated well as a teacher that’s why she applied as an au pair.

“After po nang nag-graduate ako, nagturo na ako. Teacher po ako doon kaso mababa, parang grabe yung trabaho pero less yung compensation,” she said.

According to some agencies responsible for providing au pairs in Belgium and The Netherlands, anyone aged between 18-26 could apply. Although there is no salary, au pairs in Belgium shall receive a pocket money of not less than 450 Euro each month which is deposited in their bank account. They are entitled to one day rest day in a week and one full weekend off per month.

Although the benefits prove to be very appealing, agencies made it clear that au pairs can only stay in the country for a maximum of 1 year but some have other plans.

Pinoy au pair Nemsah Padura confirmed she is not going back to the Philippines.

“After ng one year na ma end ang contract ko, siguro po di ako uuwi kasi ano naman ang gagawin ko sa Pinas. Wala naming trabahong naghinhintay sa akin dun at saka kung meron man ang konti konti ng sahod. Di po kasya sa pamilya ko. Ang priority ko po ang pamilya ko na tulungan,” she said.

Unmindful of the danger of being arrested for illegally staying, many are still willing to take the risk and sacrifice to provide better life for their families back home.