In the 1960s, the Council of Europe wanted to regulate the au pair scheme by law. The au pair should have rights to a language course with final examinations, board and lodging and position in the family. Working hours were regulated by law and au pairs got the right to leisure time. The purpose of the au pair scheme was the cultural exchange. The Council of Europe adopted the Act on November 24, 1969. The following European countries have ratified the scheme: Denmark, Italy, France, Norway, Luxembourg, and Spain. Denmark ratified the agreement on April 29, 1971. The Council of Europe looked at the au pair scheme as a cultural exchange scheme. The au pair scheme resulted in a contract signed by both parties, au pair, and the host family. In early 2000, the Council of Europe opened the way for the au pair scheme in Europe to be sought by citizens outside the EU and EEA countries. The au pair scheme was administered by the Danish State Administration. Today, the au pair scheme is administered by the Danish State with the Danish Immigration Service and the Ministry of Employment as an authority. In accordance with the purpose of the Act, the au pair scheme is managed as a study scheme. Each au pair receives a personal residence permit. Numeral and facts in the alien area by the authorities have made it possible for the public to follow the au pairs' number, nationalities, and other statistics, regarding au pairs in Denmark.
The legislation, that opened the way for citizens outside the EU and EEA countries to become au pairs in Europe, changed the image and pattern of au pair scheme in Europe. In Denmark and Norway, more and more Filipinos were recruited as au pairs over other nationalities from around 2004. In the years 2004-2009, the number of Filipinos dominated over nationalities, such as Russia and Ukraine and other countries outside the EU and EEA countries, such as Thailand, China, Sri Lanka, Africa, North and South America. There are approximately 5000 au pairs currently in Denmark from countries outside the EU and the EEA cooperation. Among the au pairs, there are both women and men, although the men are in very small numbers.
Today, the changed image of au pairs in Denmark, Norway and countries in Europe, that serve the au pair scheme, has led to a discussion on whether the purpose of cultural exchange is fulfilled in the current au pair scheme's practice.
The purpose of the au pair scheme in Denmark is a cultural exchange for young people.
In Denmark, an au pair must be between 18 and 30 years old, must be able to master at least one of the following languages: English, German, Danish, Swedish or Norwegian. The daily working schedule must be at least 3 and a maximum of 5 hours, that is between 18 and 30 hours a week. The au pair must have at least one weekday free. At least one free day a month should be a Sunday.
The au pair is to be regarded as a family member that means being equal to the other family members and participating in the everyday life of the host family. In return for her/his work, the au pair receives board and lodging, pocket money (from 4450 DKK 2020 level) and access to follow language courses at language schools.
The au pair usually are allowed to stay with their host family maximum period of 24 months, but no longer than stated in the contract. Though, the au pair visa does not constitute the grounds for a settlement either work permit.
The host family is responsible for the entry and return ticket to/from Denmark if the au pair comes from a country outside the EU / EEA or Switzerland. In addition, the host family is responsible for a one-time fee, which is intended to cover part of the state's expenses for the Danish language lessons.