DOHA: The Qatari government has approved some measures to improve conditions for foreign workers after widespread criticism of the Gulf state’s treatment of some of those working in construction ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

It has also promised a legislation revision to replace the much-criticised kafala system of tied employment.

New measures now in place include a requirement that companies must set up bank accounts for workers and pay wages electronically. Companies will face sanctions if they fail to pay wages within seven days of the due date, although the specific sanctions were not disclosed.

Additionally, a ban on working outdoors between 11:30am and 3pm from mid-June to the end of August will be introduced. The government has agreed to launch an electronic complaints system and has also pledged to build accommodation for up to 150,000 workers. A date was not disclosed for the measures to be implemented.

The steps were announced by Qatar’s Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Abdullah Saleh Mubarak al-Khulaifi. He added: “We know there is much more to do, but we are making definite progress.”

He said the government was still working on reforms to kafala in which workers need the permission of their employer to change jobs.

Al-Khulaifi added: “The reforms announced in May will replace the kafala system with a modern contract between worker and employer. However, the direction we are taking is firmly set and every effort is being made to put in place the reforms as quickly as possible – as these most recent measures show.”