The truth about freedom of movement,
and studying and working in the EU

Graham Charles Lear
4 min readJan 24, 2019


With the majority of young people having voted Remain so we are told , and with the majority being told that Brexit will damage them, I thought they might like some simple, official facts.

Freedom to study or live in the EU

99% of British people do not use freedom of movement for living abroad

99.5% of students do not use the EU’s ‘Erasmus+’ studying programme

99% of British people of working age do not live in another EU member state

The proportion of working-age Brits living abroad actually fell in the 10 years before the Referendum

Less than 10,000 higher education students study abroad, out of 1.84 million

99.5% of HE students do NOT use Erasmus+, the EU’s exchange programme

Would as many young people have voted remain if they had known the facts?

Young people were more likely to vote to Remain in the EU Referendum. Figures vary, but here is the result of one respected poll after the vote:-

18–24 71% Remain, 29% Leave

25–49 54% Remain, 46% Leave

50–64 40% Remain, 60% Leave

65+ 36% Remain, 64% Leave

Broadly, the under 25s were almost twice as likely to vote to Remain as the over 65s.

Why do young people tend to support Remain?

I looked at what one Remainer campaign group is saying. Here are some excerpts from ‘Our Future Our Choice’, which is the ‘youth arm’ of the large Remain groups. It was set up for young people and has serious backing from three large Remain organizations.

‘Our future our choice’ (OFOC)

“We believe that there is no good Brexit deal for young people.”

“If it is a hard Brexit, we will be so furious with the wanton destruction inflicted on us that we will knock down any and all of the barriers imposed between us and Europe.”

“The outcome will impact us the most: we are losing our rights to live, work and study anywhere on our continent.”

Our Future Our Choice’ website — a Remain campaign group

‘Our Future Our Choice’ is funded by Best for Britain, Open Britain, and The European Movement. This means that indirectly they receive funding from the foreign billionaire George Soros.

The young care about their freedoms

One common claim that is made by young people is that Brexit will limit their freedoms. As I have shown above, the simple facts are that the freedoms they wish to protect are barely used by British people — young and old.

And the ‘freedom to study’ could easily be replicated in a simple deal between the UK and the EU, in the same way, that British students used to study abroad before EU membership as a result of bilateral deals with the individual countries in Europe.

None of this requires EU membership.

Open letter to young people

Dear young voter,

It is self-evident that young people are the future of the United Kingdom. It grieves me that so many of you have had to suffer indoctrination throughout your education, up to and including university tuition. But wouldn’t you like to question whether your teachers and lecturers are in fact educated about the EU? I have yet to see a university lecturer who backs Remain who has anything like the knowledge about EU membership that I have. We’re talking about having facts, not rhetoric based on dreams and wishes.

Instead, you might question why it is that, pro-rata, 4 times as many higher education teaching staff use the EU’s Erasmus+ programme, compared to students? I would suggest that it’s the staff who are the ones getting the benefit, not you.

Young people like you have a thirst for knowledge, or you wouldn’t be reading this. I certainly did when I was young, I still have that thirst for knowledge, and many more like me would like to think we have retained this into adulthood and maturity.

People like me applaud young people for questioning ideas. The irony here is that we probably share a lot of the thoughts you have about being open to the outside world, and the opportunities this presents for travel and broadening the mind. The difference between us is that we know how inward-looking and insular the EU has been in its lifetime, and we want the UK to be outward-looking and global. We look at the EU and the world based on facts. And the facts show that what many of you have been taught is… less than the complete picture, shall we say.

All I ask, all anyone asks of you is that you have an open, enquiring mind. Look at the thousands of facts that are out there and compare with the platitudes you are given by the Remain side. Wouldn’t you prefer to decide based on reality, not idealistic guesswork?

[ Sources: Office for National Statistics | Eurostat ]



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.