The Qatari government said this morning it had approved a new minimum wage law and would revoke exit visas for all workers as part of a broader labor market reform program before hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs announced that Qatar, which relies on some 2 million migrant workers who make up the bulk of its workforce, also plans to ease restrictions on employer change.
Qatar has been criticized for what rights groups call poor employment conditions. Doha is trying to improve the image of labor exploitation as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup, which it hopes will boost the economy and development.
The statement said the cabinet had approved new legislation linked to the draft minimum wage law, although it did not disclose the level of remuneration.
The Council had also approved another draft law, which would result in the abolition of exit visas for all employees, and work was under way to enable staff to change employers more easily.
Qatar last year canceled exit visas for some expatriate workers, but rights groups considered the reform insufficient because it did not apply to all workers and allowed companies to keep exit permits for up to 5 percent of workers.
In Qatar, workers must obtain sponsor's approval before changing jobs, making them vulnerable to exploitation, rights groups say.
Many workers in Qatar, who toil at construction sites, clean the streets and work in private homes, come from Asian countries such as Nepal, India and the Philippines.