Qatar Labor Chief Vows to Improve the Lives of Migrant Workers

Qatar's inability to ensure decent housing for its bulging migrant labor population was "a mistake" the government is working to fix as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup, the country's top labor official said Monday, vowing his country would improve conditions for its vast foreign labor force. In an interview with The Associated Press, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Abdullah Saleh Mubarak al-Khulaifi also expressed hope that a new payment system will address frequent complaints about late or nonexistent paychecks. But he was unable to say how soon proposed labor reforms floated last year to an employee sponsorship and exit visa system would come into play. Tiny but energy-rich Qatar has faced intense scrutiny over its treatment of the low-paid guest workers building skyscrapers, stadiums, highways and other projects ahead of the games.