The Home Office has paid asylum seekers £1 an hour to carry out more than a million hours of work in the past five years, openDemocracy can reveal.

The government has been accused of exploitation after documents seen by this website showed detainees in immigration centres run by Home Office contractors are working hundreds of thousands of hours a year for meagre wages.

Detainees’ roles vary, but include cleaners, welfare buddies, kitchen assistants, barbers, laundry orderlies, painters, gym orderlies and shop assistants.

One person who works in an immigration detention centre told openDemocracy that the centre he is being held in is reliant on this low-paid work.

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