What Will Happen to Me if I Don’t Repay My Northern Ireland SLC Student Loan? – John

“Dear Jon,

I graduate from uni here in the uk this year. I study in England but my loan was given to me by the N.Ireland SLC. My student loan debt at the minute is just under £30,000. I believe it will be around £35k at the end of the next term.

My family now live abroad (in Spain) and I have no intention of ever living in the UK again. I plan to work in South America. What happens if I didn’t inform the SLC of my moving abroad and simply never made contact with them again. I’ve heard that eventually court proceedings would begin, and penalties would be incurred. Would they be able to take any action against me while abroad and if I returned to England or N.Ireland for holidays could there be bench warrants or anything of the sort waiting for me?

A long question I know but I just cant seem to find anything on the internet beyond what the SLC might do in the case of failure to contact with foreign address/ earnings details.


Irish leprechaun rugby player Ireland flag


While there are some small differences between NI and England, they are both a part of the UK, so in essence the laws regarding debts and insolvency are the same.

Do you have any other loans/debts in the UK? Do you have any assets or property?

Yes, it is possible to just leave the UK and do a runner and move abroad. Yes, the bank may begin legal proceedings against you, but in the UK no warrants are issued for debts and your returning to visit or holiday should be fine. If you were to come back to the UK for work, the loans may possibly impact your obtaining a job.

As student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, the loans will not go away, even if a creditor or bank were to make you bankrupt; which if you have no assets they probably will not do. So the student loans will just stay there, looming for a long time.

See also  Republic of Ireland Comes to Its Senses On Irish Debt Relief

Can you afford to pay the loans back? Will you be working?

The loans could be sold on to a collection agency in another country where you are living and collected there, but there is no certainty this will occur. If you were to live in the EU, it may become more of a possibility.

I hope this helps.



Jon Emge is an experienced UK debt advisor who has helped thousands and thousands of people in the UK to deal with problem debt. Jon specialises in finding good solutions for problem debt using a variety of UK specific techniques.

If you have a question you’d like to ask about how to get out of UK debt, just use the online form. I’m happy to help you for free.

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