Doha: Qatar unveiled plans for labour reforms after persistent criticism from rights groups over its treatment of workers, but it set no timetable and the changes would still leave employees without a minimum wage or trade unions.

Qatar has the highest proportion of migrant workers per population in the world and a lack of workers’ rights has attracted international attention as the country prepares to host the 2022 soccer World Cup.

Pressure on the Arab country grew after Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported in September that dozens of Nepali construction workers had died and that laborers were not given enough food and water. Qatari and Nepali officials denied the report.

The proposed reforms include replacing a contentious sponsorship law, known as “kafala”, in which workers need their employer’s permission to change jobs, with a system based on employment contracts, officials said in Doha. An exit permit law requiring workers to obtain an employer’s consent to leave Qatar will also be reformed.                           Reuters