Migrant who fled poverty offering free legal guidance for refugees crossing Channel to help save lives

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought into Dover, Kent, onboard the Dover RNLI lifebo

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought into Dover, Kent, onboard the Dover RNLI lifeboat. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

A migrant who fled poverty to build a successful immigration advice service in the UK is now offering free legal guidance for refugees attempting to cross the Channel, in the hope of saving lives.

Yash Dubal, director of A Y and J Solicitors, has been dismayed by scenes of migrants crossing from France aboard flimsy boats and inflatables and believes that many of them are risking their lives unnecessarily as they may qualify for jobs in the UK legally. He is now offering to use his experience of the UK's confusing immigration system and asking migrants to contact his company confidentially so their chances of gaining lawful employment in the UK can be assessed.

Mr Dubal said: 'There is a common misconception that people migrating from poor nations are themselves poor and uneducated. This is not always the case. Often migrants are well-qualified. Migration as an investment for them and their families.

'It is tragic that some of these people who are desperate to come and work in the UK are highly skilled and could legally get visas, rather than risk their lives at the hands of people traffickers. I'm asking anyone stuck in France and attempting to come to the UK illegally who has a college education or experience working in one of Britain's shortage occupations to get in touch so I can give advice.'

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Shortage occupations in the UK include engineers, IT developers and programmers and medical practitioners.

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According to research by Michael Clemens of the Centre for Global Development, and Mariapia Mendola of the University of Milan Bicocca, people preparing to emigrate to rich countries earn around 73% more than those staying put. Wealthier and better-educated families are more likely to pay the associated costs. Another study found that as poor countries grow richer their emigration rate rises.

Last year Mr Dubal's business helped around 400 foreign workers attain visas to work in the UK. He understands the motivations of migrants, having arrived in the UK in 2003 with no contacts, no support and just a few hundred pounds.

'I worked as a cashier in Spitalfields Market and found a place to live in East London,' he says. 'I saved £50 to send to my mother so she could buy the first fridge she'd ever owned. I worked hard, at times seven days a week for 18 hours a day, with no holidays.'

He is encouraging anyone trying to cross the Channel into the UK to contact him thorough his website.

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