OVER the last few months my office has seen an increase in constituents needing help with immigration issues. My staff have dealt with not just European Union citizens seeking settled status as a result of the new rules post-Brexit, but constituents from other parts of the world needing help with their dealings with the Home Office.

Frequently we chase up the Home Office only to find that papers have been lost or become separated from the application. Often, we are following up a decision that is long overdue so that individuals and families can get on with their lives. Dealings with the Home Office are frequently stressful and people complain that the system is complex and seems set up for them to fail.

This is disappointing because here in East Lothian I have seen nothing but support for both immigrant and refugee constituents. I hope that EU citizens do not encounter the same issues as they start to apply for settled status.

The Prime Minister and others in government have always maintained that there would be no problems with the online application and it would be straightforward. I have already joined with colleagues in complaining that the app is not available on Apple products, only Android. The Prime Minister promised the application would be free. However, if you apply now the fee is still payable and will be refunded to you.

It is not without good reason EU citizens are concerned. The recent history of the Home Office is one of a hostile environment and serious mistakes.

No matter what the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, we must be an open country that cares about its people, that recognises the contribution and benefits that migration has brought us and is a haven for people who come here as refugees. We must not build a wall literally or metaphorically around us. We are better than that.