World

United Arab Emirates offers new migrant labor reforms in country amid right groups' concerns

  • In this Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015 photo, with the Marina Waterfront skyline in the background, labors work at a construction site at the Palm Jumeirah, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates is introducing labor reforms that aim to tighten oversight of employment agreements for the millions of temporary migrant workers that comprise the bulk of the country's workforce, a top Emirati official said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

    In this Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015 photo, with the Marina Waterfront skyline in the background, labors work at a construction site at the Palm Jumeirah, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates is introducing labor reforms that aim to tighten oversight of employment agreements for the millions of temporary migrant workers that comprise the bulk of the country's workforce, a top Emirati official said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Monday, Aug. 10, 2015 photo, workers fix a window glass at an under-construction high rise located in the Marina Waterfront, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates is introducing labor reforms that aim to tighten oversight of employment agreements for the millions of temporary migrant workers that comprise the bulk of the country's workforce, a top Emirati official said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

    In this Monday, Aug. 10, 2015 photo, workers fix a window glass at an under-construction high rise located in the Marina Waterfront, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates is introducing labor reforms that aim to tighten oversight of employment agreements for the millions of temporary migrant workers that comprise the bulk of the country's workforce, a top Emirati official said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)  (The Associated Press)

  • UAE Minister of Labor Saqr Ghobash talks to the journalists during a press briefing to introduce new Ministerial Decree, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates is introducing labor reforms that aim to tighten oversight of employment agreements for the millions of temporary migrant workers that comprise the bulk of the country's workforce, a top Emirati official said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

    UAE Minister of Labor Saqr Ghobash talks to the journalists during a press briefing to introduce new Ministerial Decree, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates is introducing labor reforms that aim to tighten oversight of employment agreements for the millions of temporary migrant workers that comprise the bulk of the country's workforce, a top Emirati official said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)  (The Associated Press)

The United Arab Emirates is introducing labor reforms that aim to tighten oversight of employment agreements for the millions of temporary migrant workers that comprise the bulk of the country's workforce.

Minister of Labor Saqr Ghobash discussed the reforms at a news conference Tuesday in the federal capital, Abu Dhabi. The reforms are being implemented through three government decrees that take effect Jan. 1.

They focus on improving transparency of job terms and employment contracts, spell out how contracts can be broken and could make it easier for workers to switch employers.

Rights groups long have raised concerns about conditions for workers in the Emirates and other oil-rich Gulf states, citing concerns including low pay, inadequate housing, the illegal confiscation of passports and limits on workers' ability to change employers.