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Girls (Au Pair Arrangements)

Volume 654: debated on Wednesday 28 February 1962

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asked the Minister of Labour what control his Department exercises over the employment of girls working under au pair arrangements in this country.

None, Sir. Girls coming to this country under au pair arrangements are regarded as visitors, and their entry and stay are under the control of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

Is the Minister aware that whilst, on the whole, conditions of employment for these girls are quite reasonable, there are cases in this country—and cases, particularly, of British girls working abroad—where they are being subjected to the most blatant exploitation? Surely, there should be some control over the employment of these young girls working away from their own country. Could not the right hon. Gentleman's labour attaches do some useful work in that connection?

I think that the hon. Gentleman is quite right in saying that the vast majority of au pair arrangements are bona fide, but there are these instances of abuse. That is why my right hon. Friend and I are discussing the matter to see what can be done to prevent those abuses. This is a subject that I looked into with the Italian Government on my visit to Italy last autumn.