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Australia and New Zealand have close ties. The countries have a great trans-Tasman economic relationship and a longstanding rivalry in both rugby and cricket. A major poll carried out in 2017 by the ‘Lowy Institute for International Policy’ showed that New Zealand was considered Australia’s ‘best friend’. 

Kiwis study in Australia for strong educational qualifications, and with the prospect of working in a thriving economy. Over the last 25 years New Zealanders have been drawn to Australia and have made huge contributions to its economic growth. There are over 10,000 Kiwis currently studying in tertiary institutions and over 600,000 living in Australia.

St Marys University College Cairns

Proposed reforms in student fees for Kiwis

In May 2017, the Australian government announced that it would stop subsidising fees for Kiwi university students and Australian permanent residents from early 2018. This would see an increase in costs from $7000 to roughly $24,000 yearly in student fees.

A remedy for the increase, according to the Australian government, is that New Zealanders would have access to the Australian student loan system. A document from the government said the proposed Australian student loan scheme would boost intakes (20,000 to about 60,000 university students) of New Zealanders and enrolled Australian permanent residents.

Jonathan Gee, president of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Association, saw this announcement as a way to short-change New Zealanders.  

Bill English, the former New Zealand Prime Minister expressed his displeasure. He, however, said that subsidies to Australians coming over on domestic study courses would not be prevented.  According to him: ‘’New Zealand would continue to have a positive outlook and it is better to foster a thriving relationship with Australia.’’

Why the proposed reforms?

Bill English saw the proposed reform as a strategy for the Australian government to tackle its deficit spending, encourage savings and re-align their budget.

Non-support by Australian MPs and drop of reforms

In November 2017, it was established there weren’t enough votes in the senate on the bill. This led to the removal of the legislation by the Australian government.

Joanne Cox, deputy chairperson of the lobby group, was delighted with this win but still frowned at the inability of Kiwis in Australia to access student loans because they are not citizens.  She attributes this problem to the government of 2001 which created a change from a permanent resident on arrival to a temporary resident. She said these temporary residents had a ‘special category visa’ (no route to citizenship) for Kiwis.

There hasn’t been any positive outcome to date with regard to pushing back on the Howard reforms.

The current frustration of obtaining student loans by Kiwis in Australia

New Zealanders pay the same fees as Australian students but are not able to get student loans.

New Zealand parents are worried about their children getting university student loans. This does not look promising for everyone as there are currently 10,000 Kiwis in Australian tertiary institutions. Some New Zealand families contemplate returning to New Zealand rather than deal with the inability to pay upfront university fees in Australia.

Ongoing study process for Kiwis in Australia

Higher education at a subsidised rate is accessible to Kiwis through Commonwealth support. The training and vocational education sector within some Australian states and territories offer subsidised support to Kiwis, as they do not often qualify for any Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) loans.

Children whose parents are New Zealand citizens may become Australian citizens if they have a Special Category Visa (SCV) which takes effect from the age of 10 if they were born in Australia. This grants them access to support from the Australian Government for tertiary study.

HELP loans for Kiwis in Australia

On January 1, 2016, the Australian Government decided to give Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) loans to New Zealand citizens who have the Special Category Visa (SCV).

To get HELP loans (HECS-HELP, Fee-Help or SA-HELP), a New Zealand SCV holder must have:

  • come to Australia as a dependent child under 18 years of age at least 10 years ago;
  • at the time of applying for the loan, for the previous 10 years been resident in Australia (physically present at least 8 out of the past 10 years) and 18 months from the last two years;
  • qualified on requirements for Fee-Help, SA-HELP and/or HECS-HELP

Once they qualify on those requirements they must provide the following to ANU Student Central:

  • New Zealand passport
  • Movement evidence showing:
  • they came to Australia before their 18th birthday
  • they’ve lived in Australia for the last 10 years
  • lived in Australia for 18 months of the last 2 years, and school records proving continuous education at an Australian school/s between 2005 and 2015.

Movement evidence could be:

  • International Movement Record. Consult with the Department of Home Affairs (previously the Department of Immigration and Border Protection); or

For Kiwis with a New Zealand Special Category Visa (NZ SCV), the following criteria must be met:

For the period of your unit(s), you must dwell in Australia to have the FEE-HELP residency requirements. This is because if you leave Australia, your eligibility under the long term NZ SCV provisions and visa will be lost.

However, if it is mandatory and you decide to take residence outside Australia regardless of the duration, you will still have your visa if:

  • residence outside Australia is required in order to complete a task of that unit;
  • there is no real intention to reside outside Australia for the period of the unit;

Kindly, look up the Australian Government Study Assist resource for more information.


FEE-HELP loan scheme enables eligible students pay some or the entire tuition fees. FEE-HELP does not cover additional costs like textbooks or accommodation. ‘FEE-HELP limit’ refers to what students can cover over their lifetime. A‘FEE-HELP balance’ refers to amount remaining after a student starts using FEE-HELP.

From January 1, 2020, FEE-HELP limit will be replaced by the combined HELP loan limit. The combined HELP loan limit will cover VET Students Loans, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP.


This is a government loan scheme for eligible students at the diploma level or above to pay for their higher-level vocational education and training (VET) courses.


This is a loan scheme supported by the Australian Government Loan for eligible students. This loan enables students pay all or part of their Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

VET Loans

The Australian government supports the VET Student Loans to help eligible students pay their tuition fees. The government pays AIT (Academy of Information Technology) the loan amount directly. You pay your loans through the Australian taxation system as soon as your annual income gets to the minimum repayment threshold. The repayment threshold for 2018-2019 income is $51,957.

You can learn more about VET Student Loans at


Loan scheme to help eligible Commonwealth students

There will be a carryon for loans already granted before 2020 on any existing FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loans.

How big is the loan amount that can be provided?

Confirm your eligibility and borrow tuition fees up to the FEE-HELP limit.

Most students in 2018 have a limit for $102,392. There is a limit of $127,992 for Medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses.

In 2019, the combined HELP loan limit is $104,440 for most students. For medicine, veterinary science and dentistry, the HELP loan limit is $150,000.

FEE-HELP limit

For now you cannot ‘top up’, add or reset your FEE-HELP limit with any repayments you make which is why it is termed a lifetime limit. The FEE-HELP limit is the total loan amount a student can receive. FEE-HELP is a combination of FEE-HELP, VET-FEE-HELP or VET Student Loan. Any loan amount a student receives will reduce his FEE-HELP balance till he reaches the FEE-HELP limit.

From 2019 students will be able to top up their HELP balance with loan repayments and can re-borrow up to the HELP loan limit.

A combined HELP loan limit will replace the FEE-HELP limit from January 1, 2020. A combined HELP Loan limit will include FEE-HELP, VET Student Loans, HECS-HELP and VET FEE-HELP.

What Percentage Is the Loan Fee?

The loan fee does not contribute to your FEE-HELP limit.

For undergraduate courses only, FEE-HELP loans have a fee of 25%

Loan fees do not apply to the following:

  • Enabling courses
  • Postgraduate study covering higher degrees with research
  • Units through Open Universities Australia

Access FEE-HELP at a tertiary institution or university approved under the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

When to start repaying your HELP debt

Use the taxation system to make repayments when your repayment income is greater than your compulsory repayment limit.

There is a different compulsory repayment limit every year. For 2017 to 2018, the compulsory repayment threshold was $55,874 while for 2018 to 2019 income year it is $51,957. For 2019 to 2020, it will be $45,881.

The following are in your income tax return and are required to calculate your repayment income:

  • taxable income
  • your total net investment loss (net rental loss should be included)
  • your reportable fringe benefits (this is in your payment summary)
  • exempted amounts against your foreign employment income
  • your reportable fringe amounts (this is in your payment summary)

How to start making voluntary payments

You can make a voluntary payment by BPAY or direct credit, credit card or by posting a cheque to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Use your Payment Reference Number (PRN) to make a payment.

Contact the ATO on 13 18 61 for enquiries.

Find your PRN by:

  • making inquiries from your tax agent
  • sending an email request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • calling 1800 815 886 between the hours of 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday

If you cannot afford the repayments

You may be experiencing financial challenges and the repayments may be burdensome, so you can apply to the ATO to defer your ongoing repayment. Fill out the Deferring your compulsory HELP, HECS or Financial Supplement repayment form available on the ATO website. The form will require a detailed statement of your household income and expenditure to confirm your financial predicament. The ATO will get back to you with a decision.

If the feedback is not favourable, you may apply for a review within 28 days of receiving your notice. If you are still not happy with the review, apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Your application to the AAT should happen within 28 days after the ATO’s review.

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Unlike many other movers, we will provide you with a fixed quote based on your specific list of items.

Should you wish to add or remove any items, we will adjust our fixed quote accordingly. Hence, no nasty surprises at the end of the move process.

Our Service Promise:

Our Service Promise:

  • We will listen to your individual needs and requirements.
  • We will provide a prompt, competitive quote with in one working day.
  • We will provide you with the highest level of service.
Free In-Home Consultation:

Free In-Home Consultation:

If you are moving the majority of your household items from New Zealand to Australia, one of Ausmoves experienced relocation consultants will visit your home to establish your specific packing requirements and any unique moving needs. Learn more about moving to Australia from NZ.

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