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UK universities must reform international recruitment needs before the Home Office returns for “round two” of restrictions, according to a former universities minister.

The Home Office’s recent announcement that international students will be banned from bringing family members to the UK unless they are on postgraduate research courses caused considerable concern, particularly among those worried that more restrictions are to come.

But Lord Johnson of Marylebone, speaking at a Westminster Higher Education Forum, said the sector did well to ensure that the measures were “as limited” as they were, because it would have been “considerably worse” had the two-year graduate route visa come under threat.

“They [universities] did particularly well tactically to focus on their core objective, which was to preserve the essential policy architecture of the graduate route and to have a reaffirmation of the international education strategy,” added Lord Johnson.

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