Middle East

Qatar exit permit panel rejects more than quarter of claims

Qatar says a new government body set up to handle complaints from migrant workers seeking bosses' permission to leave the Gulf nation received hundreds of claims over two months and rejected more than a quarter of requests.

Government statistics released Thursday showed the 2022 World Cup host nation's Exit Permit Grievances Committee received 761 applications between Dec. 13, when new labor policies took effect, and Feb. 15.

Of those, 485 applications were approved and 213 were rejected, with the rest still being considered.

Qatar's long-expected labor reforms followed years of international scrutiny of its system binding some 2 million foreign workers to their employers — a practice critics say invites abuse. Despite the changes, workers must still get employer approval before leaving the country.