MY letter in these pages on September 1, 2014, ahead of the independence vote, warned that Scotland faced being swept out of the EU against its wishes if the opportunity to vote Yes for independence was not seized. My fear was in stark contrast to the Better Together argument that voting Yes would lead to loss of EU membership. My latest fear, which again does not seem to be worrying others, is that the new immigration rules being promoted to replace freedom of movement will herald a gloomy future for the indigenous young people of Scotland ("Home Office immediately rejects Sturgeon’s ‘Scottish visa’ proposal", The Herald, January 28).

Up to now, migrant workers were able to fill low-paid jobs which were unattractive to locals but which allowed the migrants to earn more than they could have done in their home countries. Seasonal work, which suits many migrants, will clearly be shunned by locals who will seek year-round employment.

The new rules will reserve these low-paid jobs for the indigenous population while highly-skilled and qualified migrants will be welcomed into the professions. What employer is going to invest in education and training of local young people when "oven-ready" recruits will be readily available from overseas?

It evokes a vision of Tolstoy's Russia in which the aristocracy spoke French while the peasantry spoke Russian. In the week of Burns Night and Holocaust Memorial Day, I can only repeat my Burns quote of 2014 that "forward tho' I canna see, I guess and fear".

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

WE must assume the First Minister has a reasonably grasp of reality. That being a given, it is impossible not to assume that she knew her preposterous separate Scottish visa demand would be dismissed out of hand and she would gain merely another grievance to add the burgeoning and mouldering mass she has already accumulated. In fact many would think that was exactly what she was seeking.

Otherwise, we must assume finally that she is unaware that Scotland shares a land border with England and, at least at present, people are free to move from one part of our shared island to another.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh EH6.

ERIC Melvin (Letters, January 27) attempts to deflect criticism of the SNP's performance in devolved government by saying that if you think things are bad here, just have a look at the state England's in. That is a well -known tactic of the apologists of the SNP. For England, sometimes you can read Wales. To justify his position, he cites a number of cases of various matters and projects not going according to plan down south.

It is interesting that he makes no mention of two relevant and significant factors involving Scotland and England. First is the Barnett Formula, under which the Scottish Government receives a population-based proportion of changes in planned UK Government spending on comparable services in England, England and Wales, or Great Britain as appropriate. Scottish ministers have substantial powers over taxes and spending for Scotland while still being supported by the resources of the UK. An obvious benefit for Scotland is that public spending per head is much higher in Scotland than in England. The other relates to GDP, which it is essential to consider when having regard to the services which are of significance to the overall well-being of our people. The rest of the UK has higher growth than Scotland.

When inferring that Scotland is "doing OK" when drawing comparison with England, it is important that the case is not presented with undue selectivity.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

I BELIEVE it is common ground that sovereignty in Scotland rests ultimately with the people. The sovereign will of the people was expressed in 2014 with the rejection of independence, and current indications are that there is not a majority with an appetite for a rerun. Nevertheless, in pursuit of its obsession with independence, senior SNP MSPs are now suggesting that they will have an irresistible mandate for Indyref2 if their party stands in the Holyrood election in 2021 on a manifesto calling for that and wins more seats than any other party.

Of course, this ignores the inconvenient fact that other parties will be standing on manifesto commitments against Indyref2. It follows that if there is to be any determining factor in the 2021 election supporting or denying any question of a mandate for Indyref2, it must be the total numbers of votes cast for all parties standing on manifestos respectively for or against Indyref2. That popular vote whichever way it went, rather than seats gained, would reflect more accurately the will of the people at the time, and what appears to be an attempt to circumvent that popular vote is both cynical and reprehensible.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

IT wasn’t that long ago that Nicola Sturgeon declared a Climate Emergency. Is it not now time that she declared an NHS Emergency?

Greater Glasgow Health Board is now in special measures and the Sick Children’s Hospital opening has been delayed till at least the autumn. This delay is costing just under £1.5 million in monthly repayments.

Jim Robertson, Darnley.

Read more: Points-based immigration plan could have 'zero impact' on creating more jobs for UK workers, says report