Norwegian government to end residence permits for au pairs

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norwegian government to end residence permits for au pairs
The Norwegian ministry of Labour has said it is ending the au pair scheme. Pictured is Norway's parliament. Photo by Marco Süssi on Unsplash

Norway’s Labour Minister has said it would stop residence permits for au pairs as the system was being used to obtain cheap domestic help rather than the scheme being about cultural exchange.


On Wednesday, Labour Minister Marte Mjøs Persen, submitted a government proposal to end the au pair residence permit scheme.

“It is a system that does not work as intended. It is no longer a cultural exchange scheme as it once was. The scheme is used to obtain cheap labour in the home, either for childcare or housework,” she told the Norwegian newswire NTB.

The government had previously pledged to remove the au pair scheme when it was formed in October 2021. However, she said that arrangements would be made to allow au pairs already in Norway to remain.


News of residence permits for au pairs being scrapped has been welcomed by the Socialist Left Party (SV), which the minority government normally relies on to gain a parliamentary majority.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), Peggy Hessen Følsvik, said the scheme led to the exploitation of women.

“Unfortunately, the scheme has given us many examples of gross exploitation of women. The most glaring example is a married couple sentenced to five months in prison and a substantial fine due for exploiting au pairs. I am simply relieved that this scheme has now been put to an end,” she told the Norwegian newspaper VG.

According to figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), around 750 people were granted a permit as an au pair last year. NTB reports that there are currently 1,100 people in Norway on an au pair permit.

Au pairs in Norway work up to 30 hours a week, with entitlements for one day off a week. In return, they are paid 5,900 kroner a month and receive board and lodging from their hosts.


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