About us

Our mission is to support migrants and disadvantaged Britons to access employment justice, and improve their social mobility. To this end, every week in London and Manchester we run a free and multilingual advice clinic. We help our beneficiaries fight employment rights breaches such as non-payment, we provide employability and benefits advice, and we help them secure their immigration status when they need it. Our multilingual team of caseworkers currently offer support in nine languages; English, Ukrainian, Romanian, Russian, Bulgarian, Italian, Spanish, Hindi, Bengali.


We also recognise the importance of changing the systems that create socioeconomic disadvantage. This is why we use our frontline insights to raise the profile of inequality, and work with policymakers to address it.

Contents

The team

Dr Dora-Olivia Vicol, CEO

Olivia co-founded the Work Rights Centre in 2016 when the charity was a handful of volunteers based out of Wembley Library. Olivia takes the lead in strategy development, ensuring the team has the vision, resources, and reputation to deliver on our mission.

A trained anthropologist, Olivia became interested in employment justice while researching for her PhD at the University of Oxford, where she conducted an ethnography of Romanian migrants' trajectories into precarious jobs in London. She leads the Work Rights Centre’s policy and research team. 

Olivia is the organisation's key spokesperson and is available for media interviews.  

Languages spoken: Romanian, French and English

Kasia Figiel, Deputy CEO

Kasia initially joined the Work Rights Centre as a volunteer, following her commitment to fairness, access to employment and decent pay for all. She is now responsible for the charity’s fundraising, financial management and operational strategy.

Languages spoken: Polish and English

Evie Breese, Senior Communications Officer

Evie manages and produces all of the Work Rights Centre’s external communications, liaising with journalists and media professionals, as well as running the charity’s social media accounts and website.

Evie is a trained journalist and writer who previously reported on employment and workers’ rights for The Big Issue, and general news for The Independent. Her interest in employment rights stems from her time as a researcher at the Institute for Employment Studies.

For press and media enquiries, please contact: evie.breese@workrightscentre.org

Languages spoken: English

Adis Sehic, Senior Policy and Research Officer

Adis works to bring the issues faced by our clients to the attention of policymakers through policy development and strategic advocacy. 

The research and evidence he produces informs the charity’s responses to official calls for evidence, and Adis frequently briefs MPs, government departments, parliamentary and public bodies, and local government on areas of reform in the nexus between immigration, workers’ rights and migrant exploitation. 

Adis is a qualified immigration lawyer (currently non-practising). His previous work focused predominantly on advising clients on complex asylum and human rights claims. Adis has also been involved with high profile litigation proceedings (e.g. PRCBC & O v Secretary of State for the Home Department). Adis' previous advocacy work has included the topic of climate migration, including representing a delegation at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) conference held in Glasgow in November 2021.

Adis is a spokesperson for the Work Rights Centre and is available to discuss our research publications and reports. 

Languages spoken: Serb-Croat and English

Andrei Savitski, Research Officer

Andrei uses his background in economics and quantitative research to drive research and policy discussions on workers' rights and immigration issues. He focuses on community research and large-scale data analysis to identify the trends, patterns and commonalities in the issues faced by our clients, and migrant populations in the UK.

Before joining the research team, Andrei worked as a full-time service provider and has led on supporting Ukrainians who fled to the UK after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Languages spoken: Ukrainian, Russian and English

Luke Piper, Head of Immigration

Luke is a solicitor. He has over 10 years of experience advising and assisting clients in all areas of immigration. Previously Head of Policy at the3million, he has been instrumental in numerous legal and political changes to the lives of EU citizens living in the UK. He brings invaluable expertise in policy influencing, strategic litigation and advocacy to the Work Rights Centre.

Languages spoken: English

Sarmila Bose, Head of Employment

Sarmila is admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales and to the New York Bar. She specialises in employment law in England and Wales. She leads our team providing employment rights advice and assistance to clients. Sarmila is also experienced in welfare benefits appeals. She is committed to promoting access to justice and worked for several years at another non-profit before joining WoRC.

With an academic background in history, politics, public policy and law, Sarmila was a journalist and an academic before qualifying as a lawyer and worked in the US, UK and India.

Languages spoken: English, Bengali and Hindi

Dmitri Macmillen, Immigration Solicitor

Dmitri joined the Work Rights Centre as an immigration solicitor in October 2022. He specialises in immigration, asylum and nationality law, and works with the Work Rights Centre's service provision team to deliver immigration advice and assistance to the organisation's beneficiaries. 

Dmitri has advised in private practice on a wide spectrum of immigration issues, and previously advised Ukrainian nationals and their family members at a charity following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Languages spoken: Spanish, Ukrainian, Russian and English

Lora Tabakova, Service Provision & Development Manager

Lora leads on casework with clients in the South of England. One of our longest-standing team members, Lora joined the charity as a volunteer in 2017. Alongside working with clients, Lora develops our partnerships with other like-minded organisations to build our reach and resources, and encourage collaboration towards shared goals. 

Lora is particularly interested in community engagement, and equality and diversity in the workplace. She holds a BA in International Business Management from the University of West London, and is currently studying towards a Law Degree (LLM) at Birkbeck, University of London.

Language spoken: Bulgarian and English

Raluca Enescu, Service Provision Manager

Raluca founded the Manchester branch of the Work Rights Centre in 2019. She manages our employment rights and employability clinic based out of Manchester Central Library every Saturday. She is also a  data analyst and works to produce monitoring and evaluation reports that demonstrate our impact. 

Raluca joined the Work Rights Centre because she is committed to combating labour exploitation, and the right of all UK and EU citizens to equal treatment. 

Languages spoken: Romanian and English

Bethany Birdsall, Senior Service Provider

Bethany leads on employment casework with clients at our London clinic. She has experience working on all types of employment rights cases, supporting clients whose cases go to a tribunal or a small claims court. Bethany has previously led projects supporting Latin American migrants and refugees who find themselves in precarious or exploitative work.

A fluent Spanish speaker originally from Minnesota USA, Bethany has been working with migrant and refugee populations in various capacities for over 10 years. Bethany moved to London in 2016 to pursue an MSc in Migration, Mobility and Development from SOAS University London, and more recently completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP University where she was awarded the BPP Career Commitment Scholarship in 2021. She is currently studying for the Solicitors Qualifying Exams.

Languages spoken: Spanish and English

Serena Fragagnano, Service Provision Assistant

Serena joined the Work Right Centre Manchester branch in 2020 to support EU migrants increase their social mobility by gaining sustainable and rewarding employment. Serena supports clients in drafting CVs and cover letters, job applications, practising interview techniques, and searching for jobs.

With over 7 years experience as a language teacher in UK schools, Serena speaks five languages making her one of our most talented linguists. 

Languages spoken: French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and English

Nadiia Yashan, Service Provision Assistant

A native Ukrainian speaker, Nadiia supports clients who are seeking to secure their immigration status. She also works closely with Ukrainian and Russian-speaking clients to support them with employment rights issues. 

Nadiia moved to the UK from Ukraine in 2021 to study for a Master of Laws (LLM) in International Law from the University of Glasgow. Nadiia has worked as a legal assistant at a private law firm in London and volunteered at the Ukrainian community information centre in Glasgow where she supported newly arrived Ukrainian refugees to rebuild their lives in Scotland.

Languages spoken: Ukrainian, Russian and English

Laura Saracin, Service Provision Assistant

Laura works under the supervision of our immigration solicitor to support clients who need help securing their immigration status or need support understanding their employment rights under a specific immigration status. Laura often supports Romanian-speaking clients with a range of immigration issues and migrants applying to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

Laura previously worked with The Renewal Programme in the London borough of Newham helping vulnerable migrants apply to the EUSS. She has also volunteered with Care4Calais to provide emergency aid to asylum seekers in the UK.

Languages spoken: Romanian and English

Sunday Babade, Finance Manager

Sunday is a fully qualified and highly skilled accountant with a strong commitment to enhancing human and environmental well-being. Sunday holds full accreditation from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and a bachelor’s degree in law.

Languages spoken: English and Yoruba

Andreea Braslasu, Interim Operations Assistant

All clients who approach the Work Rights Centre are screened and supported by Andreea. She figures out whether the charity can help them and directs them to the best member of the service provision team to take their case. Andreea also ensures the smooth running of the organisation’s recruitment, administration and training programmes. 

Previously, Andreea worked with people experiencing, or vulnerable to, homelessness, supporting migrants, refugees and disadvantaged Britons living in precarious housing.

Languages spoken: Romanian and English

Zac Downs, Website Development and Design

Zac is a software developer with a long running interest in social justice. He has been a supporter of the Work Rights Centre since its foundation, and has built its web and print identity. He currently oversees the development of the website, digital tools, and production of promotional materials.

Languages spoken: English

Our trustees

Rob McNeil (Chair of Trustees)

Rob is Deputy Director at the Migration Observatory, and a researcher at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford, specialising in media and migration issues. Before moving into his current role Rob was a journalist for various national newspapers and magazines in the UK and worked in strategic communications roles for environmental and development NGOs.

Laura Tutu, Joint-Treasurer

Laura is a qualified project manager with a degree in Economics and a BA (Hons) in Business Management. She is passionate about making a difference for the good and bringing ideas to life. After living and working in four different countries, Laura has seen enough to know she wants to help make a difference and advocate for the fair treatment of immigrants and access to employment justice with the hope of ending modern day slavery.

Laura Chilintan, Joint-Treasurer

Laura Chilintan is a co-founder of the Work Rights Centre and currently shares the Treasurer role with Laura Tutuianu. Outside of WoRC, she manages legal migrant projects for the Law Centres Network, with a focus on immigration and crime. As a trustee, she has an interest in data, service design and inclusivity, and strengthening the link between service provision and strategic work. 

Mona Zeineddine

Mona is a human rights and feminist advocate with over ten years of experience working with civil society organisations, either in a professional capacity or on a voluntary basis. Mona was most recently the Programmes Manager at Women Now for Development, where she guided the implementation of the programmatic strategy in line with the organisation's values and priorities. She was particularly focused on expanding WN's work on transformative justice and accountability in the Syrian context, whether through initiatives that support strategic litigation or research concerning feminist knowledge production.

Mona holds an MSc In Global Governance and Diplomacy and a BA in Political Studies from the American University of Beirut. She is currently pursuing an LLM in Gender, Conflict, and Human Rights at the Ulster University in Belfast and is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.

Sadat Sayeed

Sadat is a leading barrister practising at Garden Court Chambers. He specialises in advice, representation and advocacy in all areas of immigration, asylum, nationality, deportation, detention, national security, EU free movement and human rights law. He is one of the general editors of the 10th edition of Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice (the leading practitioner text on immigration law) and is an Assistant Consultant Editor of the British Nationality title in Halsbury’s Laws of England. He is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law.

Miranda Butler

Miranda is a barrister at Landmark Chambers. She specialises in public law, with a particular focus on migrants' rights and trafficking issues. Prior to starting practice, Miranda was a judicial assistant at the UK Supreme Court and has also worked for the European Court of Human Rights. In 2022, Miranda co-founded the award-winning Ukraine Advice Project, which provides free legal information and advice to those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Accreditations

WoRC holds the Advice Quality Standard for Advice and Casework in employment, and our advisers are accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner to provide Level 1 Immigration advice.

Memberships

We are members of several national and local voluntary associations, because we firmly believe that social justice comes from working together. We have established referral networks with the Free Representation Unit, Law Works and Advocate, and are proud members of the Employment Legal Advice Network. 

We are also active members of local community networks supported by local authorities. To date, we are collaborating with Brent (via CVS, Brent Community Advice Network, Brent Eastern European Network), Barnet (via the Romanian and Eastern European Hub), Bromley (via Bromley by Bow Insights), Enfield (via the Edmonton Community Partnership, and the Bulgarian Centre for Social Integration and Culture), Harrow (Romanian and Eastern European Network), Haringey (Employment Support Team), and Newham (Compost). 

On a national level, WoRC has joined the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the Foundation for Social Improvement and the Small Charity Coalition, and is a proud supporter of the Living Wage Foundation.

Our Sponsors

We are grateful to have been funded by grants from The Henry Smith Charity, A B Charitable Trust, National Lottery Community Fund, The Tudor Trust, City Bridge Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Justice Together, and local government funds, as well as by individual private donations. Thanks to Dataplan for payroll services.