Since the fateful 2016 referendum, I've written several times about the implications of the UK's changing status for us foreign national performers living here. But things are about to get painfully real, and it's important to be prepared for a changing landscape.

If you are already here in the UK – as, let's face it, all members of the AAUK are  - well done. For the most part, you will be fine; there will definitely be changes, but by and large, you've already accomplished the hardest bit, which is living and working in the UK legally. Take a breath.

However, there are some very specific issues to be aware of that will affect different groups in different ways. Let's start with the most obvious: those of us who have been living in the UK thanks to EU-US or EU-Canadian dual citizenship, i.e. without UK citizenship. It is imperative that you obtain your Settled Status – or if you have been here for less than five years, Pre-Settled Status – as soon as you can. The government has already started to unveil its plans for its post-Brexit immigration policy, and it's not pretty, particularly in regards to EU nationals, especially particularly in regards to EU nationals who are self-employed in the arts.

To be more precise, on Oct. 28, 2019, the following was made a regulation: "After exit day EU, EEA, Swiss and Turkish nationals will no longer have the right to be self-employed in the UK, to own and manage a company in the UK or provide services in the UK on the same basis as UK nationals." (cf. Explanatory memorandum to The Freedom Of Establishment And Free Movement Of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 at Paragraphs 2.1 and 2.5 to 2.7)

That, my friends, would apply to anyone working in the arts on a freelance basis, as we all are. It would seem that this doesn't apply to EU or EEA+ nationals who have their Settled Status (though the regulations are vague on this point) but if you are an EU national currently living in the UK and you haven't sorted out your status, you will become an illegal alien from next year and unable to carry on working freelance. It's that simple.

The good news is that once you have sorted out your Settled Status, you will become more sought after than ever, since you will be an English-speaking performer who can work in 29 countries without restriction. Casting directors, take note – we are the answer to your casting-on-the-continent dilemmas!

If, on the other hand, you are living and working here as a UK-US or UK-Canadian dual national, things are slightly less rosy. Your right to live and work in the UK as a freelancer or fully employed obviously remains unchanged; however, the ability to pop over at short notice to Malta for a couple days' shoot on an ad or to Bulgaria for a small part in a movie now lies in doubt, as your right to Freedom of Movement ceases fully next year. ETIAS, the EU's version of ESTA due to be implemented from 2021, will further complicate matters, as it will require all non-EU citizens to obtain an ESTA-like visa in order to enter the EU, even for a few days' vacation.

It is likely that projects will end up making adjustments, such as planning farther in advance if it looks likely that visas will have to be sorted out, or shooting in the UK, if at all possible. Some work arounds may be found, and Equity, along with other creative unions such as the Musicians Union, is petitioning the government for an artist's visa, though this may be a bit of an uphill battle. The best thing to do for the time being is to keep up-to-date — and just for now, be prepared to see casting notices marked "EU nationals only."

Finally, for those of you in the UK without either EU or UK citizenship, here on a visa or some form of Indefinite Leave to Remain, you should still be fine within the UK. You are already here, and as long as you meet the conditions of your visa or ILR, you can carry on as normal, though of course, you will not be able to work in the EU either.

If you are in any doubts about where you stand and your ability to carry on working, it is best to contact a legal professional who can advise you on your individual circumstances, as everyone is different. The main thing is not to take anything for granted. Make sure you do everything you can to sort your particular situation, and remember that support is available, both from your union, Equity, and from the other members of AAUK, who will understand better than most what you are facing.