Deliveroo PLC (LSE: ROO), Just Eat Takeaway.com NV (LSE: JET, NASDAQ: GRUB), and Uber Eats may face fines following the arrest of several of their delivery drivers in London and southern England, as part of a Home Office crackdown on alleged illegal immigrants.
Over six days, approximately 60 moped riders with learner plates were apprehended by the police, and almost three-quarters of them were detained by the Home Office.
A Deliveroo spokesperson stated that all riders must have the right to work in the UK to have an account with the company. Employers found guilty of employing someone who did not have the right to work in the UK could face up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine, with fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker.
The Home Office has claimed an increase in immigration offences by gig economy workers in London based on intelligence gathered by immigration officers. However, the arrests have been criticized by the trade union representing the industry’s zero-hours contract workers, citing the vulnerability of delivery workers to modern slavery.
The Home Office detained 44 of the arrested individuals, most of whom were from Brazil, with others from India and Algeria, pending potential deportation from the UK, with the government department expecting several of the cases to result in “voluntary departure from the UK.”
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