Shall I, or is it worth paying off my student loans? (SLC, UK) Or should I risk dealing with debt collectors?

After graduating university and working in the UK for a bit, I emigrated to Asia. When I did this, I made the mistake of writing to SLC to inform them of the change and filled out an overseas income assessment form. It later came to my attention that most expats never did this and just dropped off SLCs radar altogether.

After getting trapped in their assessment form net though, I wasn’t so fortunate.

Let’s back up a bit… When they asked for a re evaluation the following year, I had gotten a much better paid job. If I updated the information on a new form, I would have ended up paying considerably more money than the non compliance penalty rate. I thought this was dumb and called them to clarify. They basically didn’t care about the situation and told me to do the form because the repayment figures are written in the contract. I didn’t, and paid the lower ‘non compliance penalty rate’ figure and paid this for the next 2 years.

In order to try and get me to comply and do the form, they doubled my monthly repayments about 6 months ago. Now I have to pay about 400 pounds a month no matter what I do. But all the money I had in the UK was about to run out…

Now, I’m in one of those dodgy Asian countries (take a guess which one) where it’s pretty difficult and inconvenient to send money out of. I’m on a tax free salary at the moment also. So I’m not even sure that I’m legally capable of sending money home, since bank transfers take about 4 months worth of tax checks… I’ve looked into a lot of methods and can’t feasibly do it, mainly because I’m not a national citizen. Even SLCs own suggestion of flywire hasn’t been possible. I realized that I had a decision to make.

1) I do a form and and arseache away every month at finding illegal ways of getting money into the UK.
2) I do a form and realise they’re charging me so much that I’ll clear the entire 20k loan in under 5 years, so I may as well find a way to pay the the whole damn thing off now and rid myself of them forever.
3) I have no plans to return to the UK permanently. I do nothing and wait.

Not seeing why I should have to pay vast sums of money when no one else has to, I took my chances with option 3.

So now I’m on mounting arrears with SLCs affiliated debt collection agency, transcom and option 2 is looking like it would make a lot of sence. Financially, I’m able to do it. I just dont see why I should force myself into doing it when I don’t have to and no one is doing it.

But I tried to pay the arrears on their website and they don’t accept union pay and I’m just like, what exactly am I supposed to do? I’ve tried to pay SLC and I can’t. I’ve tried to pay Transcom and I can’t. Arrears will mount up and I can’t get money to it even if I wanted to.

I feel quite trapped and I’m considering closing my email account and trying to go dark, honestly. Arrears are going to increase by 400 pounds + interest each month. But I don’t really feel like they can get to me here. What do I do?