A SOUTH African national forced to leave her "much loved home of Arran" has pledged to regain her immigration status so that she can be reunited with her husband in Scotland.

Lizanne Zietsman and husband John Malpas met and fell in love on Arran, and planned to spend their lives there.

Today they begin an indefinite separation after Zietsman, 38, lost her bid to remain in the UK.

Officials who rejected her bid to extend her visa said the pair could simply move to South Africa, where her family relocated after leaving Zimbabwe under Mugabe.

In an open letter, published in The National, she thanked everyone who had campaigned against a Home Office ruling that she had no right to stay in the UK with her British husband, John Malpas.

Mrs Malpas, who was born in Zimbabwe but now holds a passport for South Africa, was warned she faced being detained and deported unless she left voluntarily.

She said: "It is not only with a heavy heart but a mind full of thoughts and overwhelming emotion that I write this letter.

"Regardless of all our joint efforts I have been placed on unwanted and duly unnecessary crossroads and am currently dealing with the prospect of leaving my much loved home of Arran behind tomorrow (Friday).

"I leave behind my husband, soulmate, life partner, friends, loving community and business to submit a new out of country spouse visa application in the hopes to regain my immigration status and return as soon as possible."

READ MORE: Thousands sign petition against deportation of Lizanne Zietsman

Even if a visa application is approved, however, she is unlikely to get permission to return before October.

A petition contesting the UK Government’s decision to force her to leave attracted more than 17,400 signatures.

Mr and Mrs Malpas, who run the Sandwich Station in Lochranza, have lived on Arran since 2015.

However, on June 19, they received a letter from the Home Office stating that Mrs Malpas’s visa renewal had been refused.

It is understood that one of the reasons the Home Office had declined the businesswoman’s visa request was because they needed to prove sufficient earnings to support them both.

Mrs Malpas was told to cease working immediately or else the couple's business would be fined £20,000.

READ MORE: Heartbreak for Arran couple as wife told to 'return to South Africa by Friday'

She was informed she must leave the country, with no right of appeal while she remained in the UK.

Mrs Malpas added: "It has been a very trying time not only for John and me but all involved in taking on board a cause reflecting the greatest compassion and understanding to individual circumstances.

"We would not have had the strength to get through this had it not been for the overwhelming support and encouragement from not only close friends but the Arran community and all involved either through signing the petition, writing to various members of parliament, social media and media alike.

"A special thanks to Patricia Gibson MP, who has dealt with my case from the onslaught and has worked tirelessly far and beyond the realm of duty pushing for a favourable outcome.

"The volume of support received is a true indication of the spirit of heart within a society that welcomes people from all walks of life, cultures and background, given the opportunity to not only integrate in a community but become part of and loved."

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Patricia Gibson MP was denied a face-to-face meeting with the immigration minister Caroline Nokes over the case but branded the treatment of the Arran resident as an "embarrassment."

She said: “I’m embarrassed that somebody like Lizanne has paid us the compliment of coming to Scotland to live and work and contribute to my constituency, who is held in such high esteem and affection by her community, and she is being treated like this.”

The Home Office said all applications "are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence provided and in accordance with immigration rules".

Zietsman can only reapply from outwith the UK and the couple believe it will by October at the earliest before she stands a chance of gaining permission to return.