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Qatar labor minister says no timeframe for promised reform of migrant labor sponsorship scheme

Qatar's labor minister says there is no timeframe for promised reforms to the 2022 World Cup host's controversial system of tying migrant workers to a sponsoring employer.

The official Qatar News Agency late on Monday quoted the labor and social affairs minister, Abdullah Saleh Mubarak al-Khulaifi, as saying that the energy-rich Gulf nation is committed to improving conditions for foreign workers.

But he says he cannot provide a date for new legislation addressing the kafala, or sponsorship system.

Qatar last May announced plans for a new law that could eventually end the sponsorship system, forms of which are used throughout the fast-developing Gulf states.

Rights groups have urged Qatar to scrap the system, saying it leaves workers open to exploitation and abuse.