The UK government wants food delivery platforms to tighten delivery driver checks

London (AFP) - The UK government on Tuesday urged online food delivery platforms such as Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo to step up driver vetting to protect people and prevent unauthorised immigrants working illegally.

Ahead of a meeting with the companies Tuesday, immigration minister Robert Jenrick wrote to them demanding they end “unchecked account sharing”, also known as substitutions, by implementing stricter controls.

The account-sharing practice currently allows delivery account holders to substitute work to other drivers who may not have been vetted.

The government argues this means the firms do not know if that person has the right to work in Britain or whether they could pose a threat.

“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,” Jenrick said in a statement.

“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.”

The government wants the 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 sector, according to the interior ministry, making more than 380 arrests involving food delivery drivers this year.

The ministry noted it had engaged with Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat over recent months, securing an August agreement to strengthen existing recruitment processes and improve awareness of illegal working in the UK.

It said the government would “continue to work with the food delivery sector to build on this cooperation and prevent illegal working”.