UN labor body: Qatar pledges to end 'kafala' employment laws

UN labor body: Qatar pledges to end 'kafala' employment laws
FILE- In this April 23, 2019 file photo, workers leave their construction sites at the Msheireb Downtown Doha district in Doha, Qatar. The energy-rich nation of Qatar is pledging to fully eliminate a labor system that ties workers to their employer and requires them to have their company's permission to leave the country. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The energy-rich nation of Qatar is pledging to fully eliminate a labor system that ties foreign workers to their employer and requires them to have their company’s permission to leave the country.

That’s according to the United Nations’ International Labor Organization, which said Wednesday that Qatar planned to end the so-called “kafala” system there.

The ILO says workers would be able to freely change employers under draft laws described as being “expected to come into force by January 2020.”

The ILO also says Doha also is considering a minimum wage.

Qatar, whose citizens enjoy one of the world’s highest per-capita incomes due to its natural gas reserves, partially ended the “kafala” system in 2018.

This comes as Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the Arabian Peninsula nation.