Recovery of HELP and TSL repayments from overseas debtors
In the 2015–16 Budget, the Government announced Australians who have a Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) or Trade Support Loan (TSL) debt and are residing overseas will be required to make repayments against their debt.
Legislation to give effect to this measure was passed in November 2015, with a commencement date of 1 January 2016.
Collection and recovery of HELP and TSL debts from overseas debtors will be based on the current regime for those living in Australia. That is, an income-contingent based repayment made through the income tax system.
Key points of the new measure:
- Applies to all existing and future HELP and TSL debts.
- Overseas HELP and TSL debtors who already live or intend to move overseas for 183 days or more in any 12-month period will be required to update their contact details within seven days of leaving Australia through our online services via myGov.
- Those debtors already overseas at 1 January 2016, have until 1 July 2017 to update their details.
- First compulsory repayments to be made from 1 July 2017, based on the 2016–17 income year.
- Compulsory repayments will be raised if worldwide income exceeds the minimum repayment threshold.
The Government, with the Department of Education and Training, the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and other countries, is exploring arrangements to share data to support overseas HELP and TSL debt recovery.
Legislation and supporting material
The following legislation received royal assent on 26 November 2015:
Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) and Trade Support Loan (TSL) debtors residing overseas are now required to make repayments against their debts if their income exceeds the minimum repayment threshold.