Going overseas to work? You can't run from HELP

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Australian HELP graduates that work overseas will now have to repay debts if they cross the repayment threshold previously only applied to domestic graduates.

The minimum HELP repayment threshold of A$53,345 has been extended in the budget to cover high-income earners that studied in Australia but moved overseas to work.

“There is no good reason why Australians living overseas earning high incomes cannot pay back what they owe to Australia,” the budget paper said.

Under the changes, which come into effect from 1 January 2016, debtors going overseas for more than six months will have to register with the ATO. Those already overseas have until 1 July 2017 to register. Repayment obligations will commence from 1 July 2017.

“Current HELP debt repayment arrangements are unfair”, the paper said. “Recovery of debts from people living overseas is already undertaken by some other countries, including the United Kingdom and New Zealand.”

In other overseas changes, the government will decrease the limit of pension access for Australians who live abroad from 26 weeks to six weeks.
Under the changes outlined in the budget, a Disability pension or Age pension recipient lives in another country for longer than six weeks will have their payments cut.