Our impact

Q1 2023 - Q4 2023

 We want to do everything we can to provide a service that is accessible to those who need us. This is why every week our advisers walk new clients through a comprehensive needs-assessment survey, and take the time to carefully monitor the progress of past cases.

The data helps us learn more about our clients and their issues. It documents our work to help our partners understand what we do, and monitors our outcomes to enable us to assess our impact, and improve our service. All data is collected, stored, and processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations 2018, and all figures are updated quarterly. For further insight, please see our case studies.

Our activity at a glance

The Work Rights Centre opened the first Employment Rights Clinic in the London Borough of Brent in June 2016. We began by offering 4 hours of pro bono casework a week, then gradually increased our service as soon as we were able to secure more funding. From January 2019, we have established the same model in Manchester. The significant increase in client numbers reflects the investment in our clinics, as well as the real need for this service. 

Client numbers grew rapidly throughout 2021 and 2022, first due to the impact of Brexit on EU nationals and their family members, and then in light of the cost of living and Ukraine humanitarian crises. Although these trends became less pronounced in 2023, demand for our services continued to be high - we were contacted by 1,333 new clients this year.

2023: A focus on our immigration and employment legal advice

2023 was the first full year that we provided legal advice and support for employment and immigration cases, thanks to employment and immigration solicitors joining our team. Overall, immigration and employment enquiries accounted for 39% (609) and 33% (515) of cases, respectively. A further 13% (199) were employability queries, largely for the Manchester clinic.

Immigration: A diversification of issues

The majority of reported issues (51%) related to assistance with making an application for immigration status. A further 5% of issues were about contesting a decision, a large share of which were related to refusals and rejections of applications under the EUSS. This highlights the broader gap in affordable, regulated immigration support available to migrants in the UK.

Compared with last year, Ukraine-related enquiries made up a much smaller share of overall queries, even though a small plurality of queries came from Ukrainian nationals (18%). This reflects the country-wide trend of fewer Ukrainians arriving in the UK compared with last year, and the realities of the new points-based immigration system, with more migrants coming to the UK from further afield. Enquiries this year encompassed a wide range of immigration issues, from varying the conditions of one’s leave (lifting NRPF), to applying for settlement as a victim of domestic violence.

Employment rights advice

This year, we received 515 new enquiries related to employment rights, roughly 65% more than in 2022. As before, unpaid wages and dismissals were the primary issues faced by our clients, collectively accounting for nearly 3 in 10 (30%) issues reported. However, we also note increases in discrimination cases brought forward, as well as problems specific to the Seasonal Worker Scheme.


This year, thanks to the new capacity for legal advice, we were able to support a broader and more complex spectrum of cases in more depth, including complex discrimination and victimisation cases. Therefore, unlike in previous years, we routinely assisted clients to recover not only unpaid wages but also compensation. We did this through representation of clients in the Employment Tribunal process, from the submission of the ACAS Early Conciliation notification to connecting clients with barristers for final hearings. Over the last year, we are proud to have recovered £56,221.41 for our clients (learn more about our Outcomes)

Employability advice

We saw marginally fewer employability enquiries in 2023 compared with 2022. In part, this had to do with the way we began to provide employability support - in addition to CV and cover letter writing, the Manchester clinic now includes interview preparation and individualised mentoring in their approach to service provision. The majority of clients who approached us were unemployed and required assistance with finding employment. The new approach proved to be more effective, particularly for vulnerable clients (see Outcomes ).

Benefits advice

As in last year, the overwhelming majority of benefits-related enquiries in 2023 had to do with Universal Credit, whether with assistance to apply or challenging a refusal. The DWP’s practices with regards to unexplained and wrongful suspensions and refusals continued on from 2022, resulting in 1-in-4 (25%) queries relating to these issues. The remainder of queries pertained to other benefits and food poverty - the cost of living crisis may have subsided but is far from over, and subsequently clients required any support they could get, in addition to Universal Credit (where eligible). 

Housing advice

Clients often come to us with overlapping issues - a significant minority of our employability and immigration clients were homeless and so required help with finding shelter or more permanent housing. This explains why more than one-third of all housing queries related to homelessness. Other issues reported to us, such as precarious housing, stemmed from high costs of living in the Greater South East, where most of our clients are based, and institutional barriers to renting faced by working-class migrants in the UK.

Welfare advice

Finally, 45 people required our support with a range of personal welfare issues. This included health issues, schooling needs, care needs, mental health issues and instances of domestic violence. This reflects our dedication to addressing clients’ holistic needs and not only their employment rights, employability or immigration issue. Care needs and health were the most reported problems in welfare cases, accounting for over half (56%) of all reported issues. In these cases, our service provision team prioritised GP registration and targeted referrals as a concrete outcome for clients, whilst other clients were also provided with ongoing mentoring and support.