Julia Jackson’s comments were published in Personnnel Today – 07/01/2019

08 / 01 / 2019

The article was originally published by Personnel Today – January 7, 2019

Deliveroo and Uber Eats face questions over worker black market

An investigation by The Sunday Times has found that jobs are traded online and some may be taken by people who do not pay tax or national insurance as they may not have the right to work in the UK.

Deliveroo and Uber Eats’ parent company Uber have both faced court proceedings to establish whether the people they engage to deliver food are self-employed contractors, as the gig economy companies claim, or “workers”, the employment status that allows drivers various additional rights, as unions have claimed.

Julia Jackson, partner at law firm Wedlake Bell, confirmed that the fines imposed on employers who took on staff without permission to work in the UK could not be applied to gig economy firms using self-employed contractors. The substitute workers themselves, working outside their immigration permission, may be prosecuted for illegal working. However, she said, “the Home Office are more likely to detain and remove them from the UK”.

Jackson added: “The ‘hostile environment policy’ (or ‘compliant environment’ as it has been newly dubbed) relies on third parties, such as employers, landlords and banks making checks on immigration status. A route into lucrative work without an employer, especially for payment in cash, exposes the weaknesses in the Home Office’s outsourced checking system.

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