Human Rights Watch says migrant workers building a prominent cultural complex that includes branches of the Louvre and the Guggenheim museums in the United Arab Emirates continue to face exploitation despite government reforms.

The New York-based rights group's report Tuesday acknowledged "positive steps" by Emirati authorities, including changes to a visa sponsorship system that links workers to their employers and the implementation of guidelines intended to improve working conditions.

The group says abuses it documented in two previous reports on Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island project nonetheless continue, though it is not possible to determine how widespread they are because of restrictions from Emirati authorities.

The government-backed Tourism Development and Investment Company behind the project rejected the report's "unfounded conclusions," calling them "outdated and based on unknown methodologies."