Changes To Student Loans Mean Australians Living Overseas Will Have To Pay It Back

01/01/2016 10:39 AM AEDT | Updated January 1, 2016 10:40
Brad Swonetz/Fuse via Getty Images

A student loan loophole allowing people to leave their debt unpaid while living overseas has been closed today, with the hopes of recouping an estimated $30 million annually.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said people who benefited from Australian student loans and now lived overseas would pay back their loan in the same way as those living in Australia, and those in debt would be required to notify the Australian Taxation Office to arrange repayments.

From 2016, anyone who has a Higher Education Loan Programme or Trade Support Loan debt who earns above the minimum repayment threshold -- currently $54,126 -- will be required to make repayments regardless of where they live.

Birmingham said a whopping $800 million had remained unpaid since the start of the student loan scheme in 1989.

“Until now, people who took out a loan under the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) or a Trade Support Loan (TSL) and moved overseas were under no obligation to repay their debt as long as they remained offshore residents,” Birmingham said.

“As well as making the scheme fairer and more equitable, the Government’s changes will improve the sustainability of the scheme with taxpayers to benefit by $150 million over the next decade.”

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