Two delivery riders nabbed for working illegally; MOM probing firms

Food delivery companies foodpanda and Deliveroo are being investigated by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) after two Malaysians were caught working illegally as food delivery riders.

In a statement yesterday, MOM called on all food delivery firms to tighten their processes after the two men were caught without valid work passes in separate operations.

Acting on a tip-off, MOM conducted an operation at 313@Somerset on April 25. A 24-year-old Malaysian social visit pass holder was found using his Singaporean friend's Deliveroo account to receive food orders for delivery. The friend allegedly received a cut from the fees in exchange for loaning out his account, the ministry said.

MOM arrested another Malaysian social visit pass holder, aged 21, in follow-up operations carried out between April 30 and May 7 at Plaza Singapura, Malacca Street, Tanglin Mall, Novena Square, Nex shopping mall and Ang Mo Kio Hub.

He was found to be using both foodpanda and Deliveroo accounts belonging to a Singaporean who had hired him illegally to carry out deliveries. The statement did not specify where he was arrested.

MOM said investigations against the parties involved over illegal employment offences are ongoing.

A Deliveroo spokesman said all riders who work with the company must have the right to work in Singapore. "We require all riders to be either a Singapore citizen or a permanent resident."

She added that some Deliveroo riders use substitutes for legitimate reasons, such as when they are unavailable to work or to help a friend who wants to earn more.

"As self-employed contractors, they are legitimately able to do so. However, every rider who works with Deliveroo, including all substitutes, must have the right to work in Singapore. These obligations are clearly and consistently communicated to all riders," the spokesman added.

"Deliveroo will of course immediately end the contract of any rider found subcontracting to an individual without right-to-work status."

MOM figures showed that from 2016 to last year, around 900 social visit pass holders were caught working illegally, while 550 employers were caught illegally employing social visit pass holders.

Foreigners caught working without a valid work pass, and others found abetting the offence, will face a fine of up to $20,000 or imprisonment of up to two years, or both. Foreigners found guilty will also be barred from entering and working in Singapore.

For employers, they will face a fine of at least $5,000 and not more than $30,000, or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2019, with the headline 'Two delivery riders nabbed for working illegally; MOM probing firms'. Print Edition | Subscribe