I HAVE read with deep sadness in The National of the many families separated by a hostile and cruel UK Home Office. I read of Juli Colaianni’s enforced separation from her Scottish husband Tony, and her pain at being parted from him for so long. How awful. She came to study in Scotland, fell in love and wanted to make her life here. I read also of other young couples and families being torn apart and treated in this inhumane way. I hear also that those over 70s in Scotland are set to increase by 70% while young tax paying workers are set to increase by 1%! Surely a time bomb for Scotland, with not only immigration visas refused but young families sent away.

READ MORE: Here is my story of the Home Office's hostile environment nightmare

My son has also experienced this visa battle at university, where he met his US partner. We discovered that this whole process is about money. They have had to jump through so many hoops and had years of stressful worry. She has felt unable to leave Scotland for family events, fearing she can’t get back in.

It is crucial to have an immigration lawyer for correct advice to tick all the right boxes, which costs of course and the whole process has been very expensive. She brought money into our economy, paying tuition fees etc, with nothing back. We were advised to have her visa application accepted they needed £70,000 in a bank account – how many young people starting out in life have that kind of money? In fact, they normally have large student debts!

International students used to be allowed to stay here for a year or more to find work, after their graduation. Why do we encourage young people to study here and then insist they leave without allowing them to stay for their graduation? I feel very angry at the way we are treating young people by offering them these opportunities and then pulling the rug from under them.

My son graduated and both he and his partner now have good jobs, both with decent graduate salaries. But there has certainly been a lot of tears along the way. As Scotland desperately needs more young families to add to our economy, its well past time that Scotland has control of its own immigration – as do other devolved regions such as Quebec and Catalonia.

Scots Tories are blinkered and obviously put party before our best interests. They must know full well that Tory policies of Brexit, hostile immigration, privatisation of our NHS, harsh austerity policies, wasted overspend on nuclear subs and London infrastructures – all these policies are not in the best interests of Scotland. Yet they bang on about how great this Union and Tory policies are. On top of this we suffer a failing Labour opposition. I am seriously worried for the state of general UK incompetence. Neither the Brexit party or LibDems offer any hope. Only one solution, our independence! Scotland is not the most devolved nation, that’s a lie.

I wish Juli and Tony good luck and to overcome the hostility of the UK Home Office. International students bring vital resources to our economy and universities. We need to show the world Scotland is a welcoming, inclusive and non-hostile place to study and work.

Name withheld

I WAS very impressed by John Drummond’s article in Seven Days on July 28 (What do all of these nonentities and failures tell us about this new PM?). It was very pertinent in how we use certain key documents to both “sell” independence to uncommitted voters, and provide structures for the operation of a future independent Scottish government.

He makes the point that these uncommitted voters need something stronger than “it will be much better when we have independence, etc”; something in black and white to reassure them how things will be after independence. He says they will be subject to “dog whistle” social media ads threatening a dire future for voting “the wrong way” and that they will rightly demand assurances as to the future and want it in writing. And this will be “in the teeth of massive negative campaigning” by the UK Government and Unionist groups. “Make no mistake, we are likely to see a UK administration behaving in ways their predecessors would never have contemplated.”

An interim constitution to be agreed upon before a referendum will need to “set out in unequivocal terms the contract between the Scottish state and the sovereign people of Scotland”; to clearly give guarantees as to how the rights and sovereignty of Scottish voters will be protected; and to be used on the doorstep before and during a referendum campaign.

Similar documents on people’s rights after independence should also be produced. “This could convince waverers in the next referendum that they will not be victimised or disenfranchised by independence.”

There was an attempt to do something similar through the Growth Commission but in my opinion it was not positive enough and hasn’t been fully accepted by independence supporters.

As John Drummond says, “we need to build agreement on a Scottish Constitution – now!” The logic behind this seems to be crystal clear so why have the SNP not moved on this? My apologies to Drummind if he feels I wrongly interpreted his excellent article. I only attempted to pick and summarise parts of it.

James Macintyre