Deliveroo and Uber Eats couriers are renting out their jobs to alleged ‘illegal immigrants’ online, an investigation has revealed.
A whistle-blower told the journalist that ‘illegal immigrants’ are coming in from France, Belgium and Italy in lorries and ‘renting other peoples’ accounts.’
The companies allow couriers – who are self-employed – to sub-let their accounts to people, given they carry out the necessary checks on their substitute, but Deliveroo doesn’t ask for confirmation that this happens.
Uber Eats asks for proof of right to work along with the substitute’s driving license within 24 hours. They also say riders must inform restaurants of the change.
This means that illegal immigrants could be working in the UK without the right to do so, not paying rent and not having faced a check on their criminal background.
Deliveroo are aware of the issue. A company representative said as far back as August that they had received a number of reports of this nature ‘not just in London, but across the country.’
In the private Facebook groups, people advertise their availability, whether that be renting out their occupation, or stating their desire to use someone else’s name.
The Sunday Times said that jobs are advertised ‘daily’ and that the new worker can be paid in cash or via bank transfer. The bank details on the original rider’s account can also be changed easily.
In one Portuguese language group called ‘Rent account Uber/Deliveroo’, a rider advertised a motorbike courier job at £70 for Uber and £60 for Deliveroo.
It was accompanied by the message: ‘Let’s get the working year started.’
Other people posting in the group clearly stated that they wanted to temporarily rent an account.
One current rider who works legitimately told the paper that it’s a ‘big problem’ and that there are ‘Brazilians coming in as tourists and working’ before ‘disappearing without paying a penny’.
Frank Field, chairman of the Commons work and pensions committee, said substitute riders were a ‘desperate attempt’ by the firms to get around the fact that riders work for them directly and are not self employed as the two firms state.
He added that their models ‘exploit’ subjects ‘who may be in this country illegally’.
Uber Eats said the right to a substitute is a legal requirement, Deliveroo said the reports of illegal riders working as couriers were ‘alleged only’ and ‘completely unproven.’