SINGAPORE: Food delivery companies – GrabFood, Deliveroo and FoodPanda – have measures in place to ensure that foreigners do not work illegally as their delivery riders, they told CNA.

This follows the issue of foreigners working illegally as food delivery riders which was highlighted by Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, Lee Bee Wah in Parliament last Wednesday (Sep 4).

She said her residents “told (her) quite often that they see Malaysia-registered motorcycles delivering food”.

In response, Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said that two Malaysians were arrested in April for working as self-employed delivery riders. They were in Singapore on social visit passes (SVP).

It is illegal for foreigners to work as self-employed riders for food delivery companies, he told the house.

“MOM has taken action against social visit pass holders working illegally as self-employed food delivery riders,” Mr Zaqy said, adding that offenders may be fined up to S$20,000, jailed a maximum of two years, or both.

Figures showed that from 2016 to 2018, about 900 SVP holders were taken to task for working illegally, while another 550 employers were dealt with for illegally employing SVP holders.

When CNA asked Deliveroo what measures they have in place to prevent such incidents, a spokesperson said: “All riders who work with Deliveroo must have the right to work in Singapore. We require all riders to be either a Singapore citizen or a permanent resident. Riders engaged by Deliveroo have these checks completed before on-boarding.”

Grab said it has a robust process for registration of delivery-partners to ensure that such incidents are prevented.

“For instance, delivery partners are required to upload their identification details during sign-up and the team will conduct a series of checks and verifications against information submitted when successful applicants visit our centres to collect their uniform and delivery bag,” said a Grab spokesperson.

Foodpanda said its rider recruitment team manages the application for work permits and has tight controls throughout the process.

“During agreement signing and the on-boarding processes we ensure that each rider has the legal requirements to work in Singapore. We ensure that they have a valid driving licence and insurance coverage as well as capture their information in our records,” said a spokesperson.

READ: 2 Malaysians arrested for working as self-employed food delivery riders

MOM said that the two Malaysians who were arrested had used Deliveroo and Foodpanda accounts of Singaporeans to receive food orders for delivery, and in exchange gave the latter a cut from the fees earned. 

The two cases are still under investigation according to MOM.

ACCOUNT OWNERS RESPONSIBLE FOR SUBSTITUTE RIDERS

The food delivery companies said account holders sometimes need to find a substitute for a variety of reasons.

But they are contractually responsible for checking that their substitutes have the right to work here, said Deliveroo.

“Deliveroo has a zero-tolerance approach on unauthorised substitution and takes this extremely seriously including fully investigating any concerns that may arise,” said its spokesperson. “Whenever Deliveroo learns of, or receive allegations of unauthorised substitution, the company reports these to (MOM) immediately and suspend rider accounts when necessary.”

Deliveroo declined to comment on figures or any individual cases of account abuse. 

Meanwhile, Grab has put in place an additional selfie verification feature where delivery partners are prompted to verify their identities via a selfie when they toggle on their job availability in the GrabFood delivery-partner app.

“GrabFood delivery-partners who are found to be non-compliant to our code of conduct will be banned,” added the company spokesperson.