The measure would hit cashflow by £90-125mln.
Students who are unable to return home at the end of their tenancies will be offered rooms free of charge over the summer months, when business had been reduced anyway.
The student accommodation developer also cancelled the final dividend for 2019, while reduction of non-essential spend allows an estimated £20-30mln in cash savings for this year.
As of Tuesday, the FTSE 250-listed firm had £141mln in the bank and £150mln of undrawn revolving credit facilities.
The firm dropped guidance but said reservations for the upcoming academic year were 78%, in line with 2019.
" There is a risk that we see a reduced level of overseas intake and Unite is ready to shift its marketing to domestic and 2nd/3rd year students," analysts at Peel Hunt said.
Shares rose 3% to 805.5p on Wednesday morning.
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