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University leaders were warned about the potential impact on the UK economy of government changes to dependent visas during the recent QS higher education festival in London.

Matteo Quacquarelli, director of strategy and analytics for QS, outlined the current position of strength for the UK in an increasingly competitive global marketplace for international student recruitment but made it clear that stakeholders cannot ‘shy away’ from the potential impact of visa changes.

In March 2023, QS undertook a pre-emptive pulse survey of 5,000 international students who were interested in studying in the UK to ask them what their reaction would be to any proposed changes to student visa regulations including the right to bring dependants with them.

The QS survey reflected ‘exactly’ what the home secretary was proposing about restricting legal migration and asked students for their immediate response in reaction to those proposals.

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