Food delivery firms have been urged to conduct checks on all delivery drivers, to protect the British public and prevent illegal working.
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has demanded Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat end the practice of unchecked account sharing, known as ‘substitutions’, by implementing stricter controls.
Under the current model, food delivery companies allow account holders to substitute deliveries to multiple people who are not checked by the companies. This means customers have no way of knowing whether the person who hands over their order has been properly vetted, and the delivery companies do not know if the delivery driver has the right to work in the UK.
In a letter from Minister Jenrick to online food delivery platforms (PDF, 107 KB, 2 pages) to each company, ahead of a meeting with them on 14th November 2023, the Minister called for the practice to end, warning that the substitution business model is enabling illegal working, allowing exploitation and putting the British public at risk.
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick:
When someone orders a takeaway to their home, they deserve to know that the person arriving at their door has been properly vetted and is who they’re expecting.
Unchecked account sharing places the public at risk, enables – and therefore encourages – illegal migration, and leads to the exploitation of workers. That’s why I’m calling on these companies to end the use of unverified substitution.
We’re taking the action needed to safeguard the British public and prevent the scourge of illegal working. It is critical these companies work with us to achieve this.
The government is calling on firms to introduce stricter vetting measures to make sure people representing each company are allowed to work in the UK, and do not have a criminal record.
Immigration Enforcement teams have ramped up action targeting illegal working in the food delivery sector, conducting over 250 enforcement visits and making over 380 arrests involving food delivery drivers so far this year.
The Home Office has led engagement with Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat over recent months. In August, an agreement was secured with the businesses to strengthen existing recruitment processes and improve awareness of illegal working in the UK.
The government will continue to work with the food delivery sector to build on this cooperation and prevent illegal working.