People living overseas who have unpaid HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP (“HELP debts”) and Trade Support Loans (“TSL”) will now be required to make repayments the same way as they would if they lived in Australia. From 1 July 2016, anyone who has a HELP debt or TSL will be required to make repayments when they earn more than the repayment threshold (currently $54,126) regardless of where they live. Currently, only people living in Australia are required to make repayments.
From 1 January 2016, all Australians with current and new HELP debts and TSLs who move overseas for six months or more will be required to notify the ATO via the myGov website to facilitate repayments. From the 2016/2017 financial year onwards, people with HELP debts and TSLs who are non-residents for tax purposes will be required to assess their total Australian and foreign-sourced income in order to make income-contingent repayments.
These changes were previously announced in the Federal Budget in May 2015 and have been passed by Parliament this week.