It is impossible to read some of the stories of Europeans who have made their lives in Scotland and not empathise as they face an uncertain future.

The Government is inviting them all to apply for “settled status” to legally remain in the UK. It says 3.5 million EU citizens living in Britain have no cause for concern.

But it doesn’t feel like that when you are waiting for the authorities to decide if you can continue to stay in somewhere you thought you had made your home.

The Windrush scandal has shown how inept the Home Office can be at handling situation like this, and anyone w ho has followed IT calamities in public services such as the police, the benefits system and the NHS will surely have a twinge of anxiety at the errors that may be made – as the Government is deluged with applications in the millions, many via a smartphone app which is already causing problems.

The Home Office says 95% of applicants have successfully proven their identity in trials of the app. But there are still fears tens of thousands of applicants could be wrongly refused settled status. Few people seriously believe the Government can accurately process up to 3.5 million applications in the two years before it will become illegal for EU citizens to be here without settled status.

That is the practical side. There is also concern about the psychological effect of this,and the extent to which EU citizens continue to feel welcome in the UK. The phrase We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns is more than a saying for many Scots. It doesn’t matter what accent people have, what food they prefer, their passions or pastimes. We are all the same under the skin.

We all know someone, or many people, who find themselves in this disturbing position. EU nationals are our friends, neighbours, colleagues. In many cases they have become family. We must continue to offer that welcome, and hope that Brexit does not do lasting damage to these valued and precious ties.