Advocacy Comments on the State Department’s Au Pair Rule

On October 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of State (Department) published a proposed rule that amends regulations governing the au pair program, which allows young foreign nationals to travel to the United States to continue their studies and provide in-home childcare for American host families. The proposal significantly increases the weekly au pair compensation by up to 78 to 270 percent. In addition, the agency also proposes many costly and burdensome paperwork requirements. On January 26, 2024, the Office of Advocacy (Advocacy) filed a comment letter recommending that the Department publish a supplemental initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA), (PDF, 305KB).

Advocacy advised that:

The proposed rule’s IRFA is deficient.

  • The supplemental IRFA should estimate the compliance costs of significant lost revenues to sponsors. The proposed rule’s increased wage costs will significantly decrease the demand for au pairs and decrease their revenues. For example, a similar requirement in Massachusetts mandating increases in au pair stipends resulted in an over 60 percent decrease in demand and enrollment for au pairs. The supplemental IRFA should also estimate the economic impact of paperwork burdens which was omitted from the analysis.

  • Per the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the Department’s supplemental IRFA must include specific regulatory alternatives that would minimize the rule’s economic impact on affected small entities, and which accomplish the agency’s objectives.

For more information, please contact Assistant Chief Counsel Janis Reyes, at or 202-798-5798.