Minimal Hourly Wages Approved for UK Immigration Detainees

05 Apr 2019 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A high court judge in the UK has found that UK immigration wages of only £1 per hour are lawful in a recent court battle. Five former UK work permit immigration detainees challenged the approved rates of pay recently, but the case was dismissed by Justice Murray in March. The judge said that he sympathised with the men, who described the rate of pay as "slave labour wages."

The men arguing against the pay rate for those detained while seeking UK visas and work permits for the UK are asking permission to appeal the ruling. The current pay rate for immigration UK detainees is less than a seventh of the minimum wage for UK employees.

According to the judge who approved the payments, the rates are acceptable because the purpose of the jobs done during detention were designed to alleviate boredom. Those detained for things like being in the UK without British naturalisation rights were not compelled to do the work that is available.

Paid work in any immigration UK detention centre is voluntary. Detainees are not required to pay for accommodation or food when they're incarcerated, and the centres are exempt for legislation regarding minimum wage, like prisons. The former detainees explained that no-one else had been brought in before to do the work done by the detainees, and that centre managements would have to pay more for someone else to perform the tasks.

According to Justice Murray, his ruling is a common way to respond to challenges such as these. Ultimately, nobody in the detention centre is required to do the paid work available. However, many immigration UK detainees say that the work makes them feel exploited. The rate of pay has remained the same since it was first introduced by the Home Office in 2008.

The UK immigration lawyers responsible for helping to deal with the detainees' case say that being paid £1 an hour for crucial work is obscene, and that the judgement given by the courts has been disappointing.