“Food Panda” delivery man riding on an electric bicycle doing deliveries at Geylang Road. (Image by Terence Toh Chin Eng / Shutterstock.com)

Two Malaysians were arrested for working illegally as food delivery riders for Foodpanda and Deliveroo, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a statement on Wednesday, 15 May.

The statement said that MOM was acting on a tip-off when they conducted an operation at 313 @ Somerset on 24 April where they found a 24-year old Malaysian on a social visit pass who was using his Singaporean friend’s Deliveroo account to receive food orders for delivery.

In a follow-up operations between 30 April and 7 May at Plaza Singaporean, Malacca Street, Tanglin Mall, Novena Square, Nex Shopping Centre, and Ang Mo Kio Hub, MOM also arrest another Malaysian on a social visit pass, this time 21 years old, who was using both Foodpanda and Deliveroo accounts of the Singaporean who hired him to illegally carry out deliveries.

MOM said that they are conducting investigations into the parties involved over the illegal employment offences. The statement added a call from MOM on all food delivery companies to tighten their processes to prevent the illegal usage of accounts.

Director of Employment Inspectorate at MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, Felix Ong, emphasised that foreigners are on social visit passes are prohibited from undertaking any form of work or employment. He added, “MOM will not hesitate to take strong enforcement actions against both foreigners and employers who violate the law.”

According to reports by Malaysia’s The Star and Singapore’s The New Paper, a Deliveroo spokesperson said that all their riders are required to be either a Singaporean citizen or a permanent resident. She added that as riders are self-employed contractors, they may sometimes use substitutes for legitimate reasons, however those substitutes must have the right to work in Singapore.

“These obligations are clearly and consistently communicated to all riders,” the spokesman said.

“Deliveroo will of course immediately end the contract of any rider found subcontracting to an individual without right to work status,” she added.

Separately, Straits Times reported that there were around 900 social visit pass holders caught working illegally in Singapore between 2016 and 2018 according to MOM data. Also, 550 employers were caught illegally employing social visit pass holders in that same period.

The penalty for foreigners who work in Singapore without a valid work pass and those abetting the offence, is a fine of up to S$20,000 or imprisonment of up to two years or both. Foreigners found guilty of the offence will also be barred from entering and working in Singapore.

Employers who illegal hire workers without a valid work pass can face a fine of at up to $30,000 and imprisonment of up to 12 months or both.

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