Deliveroo investigates claims made against rider agencies breaking the law

A number of riders, who are employed by third-party agencies, say they have to pay for work visas

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Deliveroo is investigating claims by riders in the UAE who say they had to pay for employment visas out of their own pockets.

A number of riders, who are employed by third-party agencies, said they handed over thousands of dirhams to receive work permits and were not reimbursed by their employer.

In the UAE is it illegal for an employee to pay visa costs.

According to article 6 of the latest labour law, which covers the recruitment and employment of workers: “The employer is prohibited from charging the worker for the fees and costs of recruitment and employment or collecting them from him, whether directly or indirectly.”

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Rider agencies have clear contractual obligations to pay for riders' visas and the agencies must make sure that all riders that Deliveroo engages with comply with relevant legal requirements
Deliveroo representative

In a statement to The National, the Amazon-backed company said it was looking into the claims.

“Rider agencies have clear contractual obligations to [be] paying for riders' visas and the agencies must make sure that all riders that Deliveroo engages with comply with relevant legal requirements,” it said.

“Should any agency be found to be failing to adhere to these obligations, we will stop working with them.

“We will investigate these claims with a matter of urgency.”

The Deliveroo website states that to become a rider with the company a person should meet three criteria.

They have to provide proof of valid right-to-work and insurance coverage documents in the UAE, sponsored by a rider agency partnered with Deliveroo, show a valid motorbike driving licence, and be over 18.

Deliveroo this week scrapped plans to cut wages of riders in the UAE when thousands refused to work and brought the food-delivery service to a near standstill.

There had been a proposed move to reduce the payment riders receive per delivery, known as a drop fee, from Dh10.25 to Dh8.75 ($2.79 to $2.38) but the protest action meant the company decided against the plans.

Since then, riders have been vocal about how the agencies that employ them are not providing essential work benefits.

One resident, who has been working as a delivery rider in Dubai for two years, said he had to pay for his own employment visa on top of a number of other costs.

“[I paid] Dh6,000 for the visa,” he said, also citing other costs incurred as part of the job.

The National contacted several rider agencies for comment. Only one responded, saying it could not comment due to the continuing discussions with Deliveroo.

Updated: May 06, 2022, 8:01 PM
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