Immigration detainees working for £1 an hour is lawful because it is to relieve boredom not earn income, High Court rules

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“This is yet another feature of a harsh, hostile, broken immigration detention system that has to come to an end.”

At the hearing in December, the claimants’ barrister Hugh Southey QC said that “setting a flat rate of £1 for all work, no matter what type, what quality, and done with whatever effort, and for work from which the centres accept they benefit, is incompatible with detainee dignity”.

He referred to an independent review of immigration detention in 2016 in which “regular references to slave labour” were made by detainees.

Mr Southey added that the £1 an hour rate was fixed in June 2008, but that “more than 10 years on, there has not even been an inflationary increase”.

But the Home Office argued that “immigration detainees are not required to work and there is no adverse consequence for them if they choose not to participate in paid activities”.

David Blundell, for the Home Office, said detainees received “a weekly allowance of £5 regardless”.

He added that “paid activity may be provided to immigration detainees” but they have “no right to demand paid work”.



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