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Every year many foreigners find au pair work in Amsterdam or the Netherlands, however, Dutch au pair agencies have been scrutinized due to reports of exploitation.

Every year, thousands of young Asian women   Dutch agencies make enormous profits recruiting and supplying them to families, and the market has doubled in just 10 years, not least the au pair Amsterdam and au pair international jobs markets.

‘Live-in household and childcare help for just €340 a month plus room and board’: it’s music to the ears of working Dutch parents with children.

However, many au pairs in the Netherlands experience unfavorable working conditions that would likely be considered against Dutch labor laws for working au pairs, and Dutch au pair agencies have been scrutinized in the past due to reports of exploitation. However, there are conditions included as part of the Dutch au pair residency permit to protect au pairs in the Netherlands, for example, a limit on working hours and a signed agreement on set tasks.

Au pair in Amsterdam: cleaning instructions

An au pair in Amsterdam takes care of the children, performs light cleaning duties, learns the Dutch language and about Dutch culture. Working in au pair international jobs appealed to Catleya, a 23-year-old Philippine woman. An au pair agency arranged for her to start au pair work in Amsterdam with a family.

On her first night in the Netherlands, she could hardly sleep because she was so excited. The following day, she was given a list of cleaning instructions. On the second day, more tasks were added to her list, including cleaning the windows. This didn’t fall under the ‘light household cleaning’ clause in her contract but she was too scared to say anything.

“My host father was a perfectionist when it came to cleaning. If I did one tiny little thing wrong, he’d tell me over and over again. I thought to myself, have I exchanged my life in the Philippines for this? I hadn’t expected to be treated like a menial by the family. I slowly learned to accept the fact that if there was something dirty in the house, I was responsible for it.”

A week after Catleya arrived, her host family had given her a full cleaning roster: on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, she had to dust and vacuum the entire house. On Tuesdays, she had to clean the kitchen from top to bottom and on Thursdays, she did the bathrooms and toilets. She made breakfast for the family every morning and cooked a hot meal every evening. And in between all that, she took care of two children.