Significant changes made to the Federal Government’s Trade Support Loan Scheme.

The Australian Government is urging past and present students/apprentices to become familiar with new laws concerning the repayment of Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) and Trade Support Loan (TSL) debts.

The new laws will crack down on Australians working abroad, who incurred a HELP or TSL debt, who were previously not obliged to repay their debt if they remained offshore.

In place since January 2016, any student, apprentice, or person with a HELP or TSL balance who intends to leave Australia for more than six months, or who has already been overseas for six months, will be required to register their details with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

From July 2017, Australians working overseas who have HELP or TSL debts will be obliged to make compulsory repayments on their loan if they are earning above the $54,126 threshold for the 2015-16 financial year.

The new laws rolled out by the federal government, which seek to make Australia’s income contingent student loan system more sustainable, also aim to make it fairer.

Are you undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship?

If you’ve taken out a Trade Support Loan (TSL) to help with training-related expenses but are planning on moving overseas to work, the Federal Government now requires you to repay the money, just as you would if you were working here in Australia.

Changes will not be made to existing incentives, such as the 20 per cent loan discount, once you have successfully completed your studies.

Heading overseas to work or live?

 If you’re thinking about heading overseas for six months or more to work, you will need to give the ATO your new contact details by creating a myGov account, linking to ATO online services, and select ‘update your details’.

From 1 July 2017, people overseas will use their ATO online account to lodge an assessment of their world-wide income. Anyone earning above the income will have to make repayments.

Where can I read about the changes?

The Federal Government has made all information concerning changes that effect your Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) and Trade Support Loan (TSL) debts available online. For more information about TSL, visit www.australian apprenticeships.gov.au/content/trade-support-loans or contact your local Apprenticeship Network Provider.