“I am a student who has completed my course of studies and am currently in my search year. The coronavirus has severe repercussions for my work as a freelancer working with the Deliveroo company. There is fear in my heart because of the coronavirus, but the orders with fees keep on tempting me. I am in a dilemma – my life and survival in The Hague as a migrant student depend on paying my bills, family responsibilities from abroad, upkeep, and my health, another dilemma. Unfortunately, the fees which were tempting me from staying safe at home started vanishing due to the low level of customers ordering food from restaurants. The small orders usually result in Deliveroo lowering the fees for riders in order to make a profit themselves. I faced a big blow when Deliveroo realized that there were fewer riders on the road and introduced the free login system, compared to the booked session system where cyclists booked sessions to work every week. Due to the free login system, a rider can now work any time from 9:00am to 12:00am. This allows many riders into the system at once, coupled with people not ordering so much, which makes the earnings very low.
There are many days, especially from Monday to Wednesday, that I go out from morning till evening and hardly earn 50 euros. Customer orders are low these days. My colleagues and I usually sit or stand at The Hague center. I used to earn 100 euros a day before the coronavirus. Now I have to struggle to make 50. Hence, my earnings have suddenly been reduced, and out of the 50 euros, I have to remit to my family abroad, pay tax, pay bills among other things.
Due to the effects of the coronavirus on my earnings, I wish I had some financial support. However, this is tough to find. Many clauses are attached to the financial support scheme, and as a migrant worker, it is challenging to access it. Though I face lots of difficulties in these trying times, I have not gotten any support from anybody. Deliveroo is my only source of income. It is difficult for me to find a job because I don’t understand Dutch. I attended some interviews, but the Dutch Language is always a barrier. Though there is a lockdown, I still gamble with my life to survive. I cannot stay indoors, as starvation is staring me in the face. Worse, I can quickly be evicted from my home if I don’t work during lockdown.
As the saying goes, “after every storm, there is calm.” Hope dwells in me that sooner or later coronavirus will be history. Everything has its season, and I firmly believe Allah will see the whole world through this period of despair. There is no antidote to this predicament, and no country has the means to secure a cure for this deadly disease. That means it is only Allah who can see us through this storm, and prayer is a weapon against the pandemic.”
An undocumented migrant student living in the Netherlands describes his experience working as a freelance rider for Deliveroo during lockdown