Thought you were leaving Australia all behind? Not so fast if you’ve got a HELP debt.

The Australian Government has introduced changes that mean if you have moved overseas and have a Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) or Trade Support Loan (TSL) debt, you now have the same repayment obligations as those who live in Australia. This applies if you already live or intend to move overseas for a total of more than six months in any 12-month period.

From 1 January 2016, you will need to update your contact details through mygov within seven days of leaving Australia. If you already reside overseas, you will need to update your details no later than 1 July 2017.

From 1 July 2017, if you are living overseas and earning an income that exceeds the minimum repayment threshold, you will be required to make compulsory repayments towards your debt.

From 1 July 2017 you will need to:

  • Determine your residency status
  • Assess your worldwide income
  • Submit the details to the ATO using myGov by 31 October

Your debt will continue to be indexed each year until it is paid off. You can make additional voluntary repayments at any time to reduce the balance of your debt and these repayments can also be made from overseas.