Brexit means au pairs will no longer get to experience Leeds - YEP letters

FROM: Sally Cieslik, Roundhay

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 6:00 am
Brexit has made it more difficult for European au pairs to live and work in Leeds. Picture: Getty Images

Once upon a time in the not so distant past I had young children – they are now twenty-somethings.

As working parents we delighted in inviting young women from Europe to come and join our family as au pairs – we had eight in all over seven years.

Whilst with us they were truly part of the family – attending family events, Christmas celebrations, holidays and days out.

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We made sure they could attend English lessons, go away on au pair group trips, invite friends and family to stay with us.

In short they got to know what it was like to live in the UK and we got to know about their traditions, way of life and what they liked to eat.

It was a great experience for us as well as them – five out of the eight are still in touch with us.

One settled in the UK and married her boyfriend who she met on a night-out in Leeds and now has three children – I attended the christenings.

Another took my 11-year-old daughter on a trip to visit her parents in Germany.

If any of them visit the UK there is an open invitation for them to come and stay – and vice versa.

If we wanted to take on an au pair today it’s not quite so simple and it is a tragedy for young people here and in the rest of Europe that it is no longer so straightforward post Brexit

What a shame; this small cog in the far bigger wheel of ensuring understanding and openness across our borders for future generations is now needlessly hampered.

It is a sad loss, so until we rebuild this bridge – au revoir les au pairs.