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From private to public sphere, the commodification of the au pair experience? Returned migrants from Slovakia to the UK



This paper explores three aspects of the au pair migration experience, through a case study of Slovakians, mostly but not all women, who have returned from sojourns in the United Kingdom. First, it argues that au pairs are distinctive from other migrants working in domestic service. Their positions have to be understood in terms of a particular regulatory framework, temporal restrictions, living-in conditions, and the blurring of rights and responsibilities. Second, there is a need to consider the full cycle of migration. Returned au pairs have been able to commodify many aspects of their UK experiences, despite the constraints of relatively short visits, and the household and care work allocated to them. Third, understanding au pair migration as being socially and spatially constituted provides greater insights into their experiences and outcomes.

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