"MaW has been drawing our and the Network's attention to pertinent issues with regard to EU citizens and their family members. This was largely done in the context of the implementation of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, but also beyond. We continue to look forward to working with Migrants at Work both to map any systemic issues around the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement (applications, exercising of rights granted by the Withdrawal Agreement)."
(Daniel FLEISCHER-AMBRUS, European External Action Service, EU citizens' rights program leader)
"Through his own endeavours, Ake has set up and established an award-winning organisation that is crucially highlighting the vulnerability of migrant workers of colour through sharing and using their lived experience of immigration status and/or race discrimination related labour exploitation. This is even more impressive considering the very limited amount of funding his organisation has received to date. Ake is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about his work. However, he is equally patient and has great skill, most notable in how he presents and articulates the complexities of immigration policy and its intersection with employment law to the detriment of those migrant workers he is seeking to support and protect."
Frank Hanson, Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority, former Head of Prevention
"[t]They have a sound analysis of how immigration policy and employment law are intersecting to create and exacerbate vulnerability to slavery and trafficking in the UK."
( Emily Kenway, former Labour Market and Private Sector Lead, author and activist, Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner)
(SOLEX) Self-Organised Lived Experience Organisations
"Over the last four years, we have been privileged to work with Migrants at Work Ltd. During this period, they have been one of very few Lived Experience led Organisations who've sought to make visible the abhorrent abuse of Migrant workers in the West Midlands. We salute their extraordinary courage and remarkable stoicism in confronting this human rights issue, which is a direct result of Hostile Immigration Laws authored by this Government. Migrants who face shocking costs to renew their visa's are targeted by unscrupulous Gang-masters who take advantage of the most vulnerable people. Ake and his team have rescued numerous people who were being held against their will, assisted them to get their freedom back, and in the process have exposed the architecture of oppression that is enabled by bad legislation. It is a privilege for us to work with them in making visible this malady that is hidden in plain sight. Their Work is heroic!"
(Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group)
People With Lived Experience (PWLEs)
"Ake's session about the right to work for refugees and migrants came to my community at the right time. The first session was in Feb 2020 seminar, where around 75 people attended. That was very clear, and attendees asked a lot of questions. The second session was in Zoom during the time people were getting reduced from industries because of the impact of COVID-19. Most people attend both seminars, and more come for support, and yes, people understand what their rights are. And it helps me also where to send when a query on the right to work comes from my community. E.g. I got a phone call recently about an employee whose employer (agent) stopped calling her for work after they found out she was pregnant. So it was easy for me where to refer this person to... Ake."
( Biniam Haddish, Eritrean Community leader )
"I want to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation for the incredible work that your organisation does to fight against the exploitation of migrant workers in the UK. Your dedication to providing support and assistance to vulnerable people like myself is truly commendable.
I was particularly impressed with the professionalism and compassion you displayed when I was in desperate need of help. From the initial consultation to the final stages of the case with my employer, I knew I was in good hands. The level of care and attention that you provided went above and beyond my expectations.
Even whilst you were away on holiday, you still had time to listen.
Your efforts to combat exploitation in all forms are incredibly important, and I am grateful for the role that you and your organisation play in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of those who are been exploited. The work that you do truly makes a difference in the lives of so many people, mine in particular.
I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Migrants Right Network, Migrants at work and to you Ake, for the outstanding service that you provide. I am proud to have been supported by your organisation and I will continue to spread the word about the amazing work that you do."
( Healthcare assistant)
"First of all, I would like to thank you so much to Ake for helping and listening to the problems I was facing with my care company, which gave me a sponsorship visa but no work and threatened us to do just 3-4 hours in a whole day. They have different calls for clients in different areas, so we drive 10-15 miles for calls to reach there, sometimes 20 miles for a single call; that's why I decided to change my visa. Ake helped me throughout my visa processing through Borderless and finally, I have changed my visa now and have good hours in my new job; this guy helped me a lot, and I always remember him in good deeds and wish he always do the same for other people as well he did for me. "
"As a foreign worker here in the UK, my only goal is to get a job and bring my family over. Unfortunately, I'm in a situation whereby I need to prioritise things, and that requires me to change employment.
I was in a dilemma of changing employer because I needed to pay for breaching the contract, that It costs me so much as ££££ to leave but I don't have any penny to pay them. Not until I was introduced to Ake. His organisation helped me a lot, provided me with so much information about my rights as a migrant worker here in the UK, and in my case, between me and my previous employer ( legal issues in my employment contract). He provided me with awareness of what was really going on.
Ake reassured me and answered all my doubts and fears in this situation. He supported me from day one until today and gave me updates even late at night.
I was a bit sceptical about Ake's service; I really thought it cost me £££ to use his service, but surprisingly he did not ask for anything; it's a free service, and it is so amazing how this organisation works. I am very grateful to Ake for helping me; his expertise and experiences in this fields gave me so much strength and courage to continue and leave my previous employer without hesitation.
Ake got my back, I am confident, and I trust him.
I am forever grateful to Ake and this organisation for helping innocent foreign workers like me who experienced exploitation from the employer."
( the victim, Registered nurse)
"There are a lot of problems in such situations, and people simply quit instead of arguing for their rights - because of lack of information of what are your rights, and due to language barriers. Because of receiving the information that I have a right to work from Aké, my employers were forced to re-hire me. Because I had a backbone with a lot of information of what I have the right to stand for [t]."
(Samuel, MAW's member)
"Through all this - 2 months and 18 days - ten days before I met Ake, I was alone fighting but feeling like... naked hand fighting against a weaponed one. When I met Aké, all things were clear to me: what I had to do, what is my rights, and why I had to fight not to be terminated. We lack a lot of information, especially at work. Even though it is our right, even though we know it, we don't gain it. I appealed again, and they rehired me straight away because I had a backbone with a lot of info. Ake was so helpful and precise."
"[t] Just wanted to say a big thank you for helping me to win my appeal against my dismissal from my company, Man Commercial. Without winning that appeal, my wife wouldn't be able to get the visa because I would be out of work. So once again thank you so much. My wife ended up getting the visa. we both are really grateful for your help, and she is looking forward to seeing u[t]
"I was referred to Ake & Migrants at Work by an immigration service I was using in recruiting healthcare workers for our care homes.
One of our new nursing hires had signed a contract in good faith and moved to the UK on a Tier 2 sponsored by her previous employer. However, when she tried to resign from her previous employer to join us, they attempted to prevent her resignation with threats of several thousands of pounds of fees that she would have to repay to them. When my hiring manager brought this to my attention, I knew this was a version of bonded slavery. I reached out to Ake & Migrants at Work for help as I knew the previous employer was acting in bad faith and illegally. Between us, Ake & I were able to put my new hire's mind at ease. From that point on, Ake has been superb at supporting my new employee's concerns, taking up the matter with her previous employers, liaising with solicitors and managing the process to such an extent that I know I made the right decision in engaging Ake & Migrants at Work. This is the best experience I have had with anyone on any kind of HR issue as Ake has both a lived experience as a migrant worker, a personal experience of being in an alien culture, an empathic communication style with employees and an understanding of both the relevant legislation and the rights of migrants & workers. I will not hesitate to recommend Ake & Migrants at Work to anyone, and I will certainly be supporting them, and using them again in the future."
People with Professional experience-led (PWPEs) organisations
"Migrants at Work do impressive and important Work, advocating for the rights of Black and Brown migrant workers, caught at the intersection of hostile immigration and labour laws. They are led by people with lived experience and use their community networks to provide much-needed support and advice to people impacted by labour exploitation. We are proud to campaign alongside them in the fight for migrant workers' rights, and the rights of all workers."
"MaW's contributions to the EU delegation's EU citizen's rights monitoring network has added to other organisations' understanding of the issues around the Right to Work check - for instance, EU Embassies. The fact he's been raising this issue will have provided a lot of useful understanding to people who might not have been familiar with it previously... Their contribution to this network is very valuable for understanding what's happening on the ground. EU citizens come of many races and creeds, that can impact on treatment. The network needed to hear that, making it more nuanced. [MaW's contribution has had] a good impact for that discussion.From migrants employment perspective - whenever I talk to someone who has been discriminated against - I don't know where to send them. If I had an issue with [immigration-related workplace discrimination/right-to-work checks], he would be the person I'd talk to... They do good work.
Christopher Benn, Seraphus Solicitors /special advisor to the European Delegation in the UK/ EU Citziens rights monitoring network
"From a migrant's employment perspective - whenever I talk to someone who has been discriminated against - it is difficult to know where to signpost people as there are not many organisations who are able to help. If I had an issue with immigration-related workplace discrimination, Aké would be the person I'd talk to... They do good work. Christopher Benn, Seraphus Solicitors / EU Delegation's EU Citizens rights monitoring network."
Christopher Benn, Seraphus Solicitors /special advisor to the European Delegation in the UK/ EU Citziens rights monitoring network
"Ake provided a clear and comprehensive outline of the rights of people seeking asylum as against employers. Ake also provided a very simple-to-follow outline of what an offer of employment is, what the grounds of discrimination are, and a useful list of actionable steps to take. We have inserted Ake's description into our own resources for the benefit of our community, and for that we - and they - are very grateful!"
Yumna Kamel, Legal Education Officer, Right to Remain
"It enables us to have [the Right to Work issue] in the back of our minds. We recently started a volunteer network - and will recruit more in the future. It is important information for people in the future. Since I've had this session, I could sign post, and if it is to do with work I would refer to MaW."
( Volunteer, Settled )
"[t]It's more difficult than I initially realised to find people with this intersecting expertise, though immigration issues rarely stand-alone - if you have an issue with status, you often face legal difficulties in other parts of your life. There's a lot of people who are brilliant employment or immigration lawyers, but not many who are experienced in working at this intersection. He's the only person I know who is doing this kind of thing - he is quite unique from what I can see[t]."
(Trainee Solicitor, Refugee Action (on secondment from Clifford Chance)
"I wholeheartedly support the nomination of Migrants at Work for the Black Talent Awards. Migrants at Work is a champion for the rights of migrant workers in the UK today. Aké Achi works tirelessly with those in precarious situations. is skilled at building trust and helping individuals to recount what are often harrowing accounts in order to help individuals secure the help they need. He has raised the issue of homegrown slavery on a national level and continues to highlight the urgent need for the reform of immigration and employment law and policy to enable migrant workers to work safely and with dignity in the UK. Migrants at Work does all this on a shoestring and is both an inspiration and a refuge for many."
(Victoria Marks, Director, solicitor, ATLEU)
"Judges were impressed by Migrants At Work's impact and achievements, especially with a very small budget. The organisation is filling a pressing gap in access to information and rights-based support at a time when Trade Unions are facing a tremendous amount of pressure. The Community Integration Awards commends Migrants At Work's inclusive and dynamic response to Covid-19, adapting the project to respond to pressing needs on the ground. In the context of more migrants and BAME workers being driven into exploitation, working at the forefront of the pandemic and at great risk, this work becomes only more important."
(The Community Integration Awards)
"[t]your work to tackle the exploitation and discrimination faced by migrant workers, and your efforts to raise awareness of these issues, is exemplary and has been recognised by the judging panel as outstanding[t]
(Outstanding Contribution to the fight against Modern Slavery in the category or Empowering Survivor Voice, Brian Marsh OBE)