TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) – The possibility of a landmark deal came as the International Labor Organization (ILO) opened an office in Doha, part of an agreement under which the United Nations agency will oversee wholesale labor reform by the 2022 World Cup host.
"We are looking now about the final details of the exit visa, we expect a deal within the next two weeks," said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation and a once-vocal critic of Qatar's labor laws.
Other sources with knowledge of negotiations on the issue confirmed a deal was expected to be announced soon.
The exit visa system has long been savaged by critics of Qatar's labor practices as a prime example of the (Persian) Gulf state's exploitation of its vast migrant workforce, which numbers some two million.
Qatar has come under intense international pressure and scrutiny since it won the right to host the World Cup, for which it has said it is spending $500 million a week on major infrastructure projects.
Labour Minister Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi, who cut a ribbon at the opening of the ILO office, said the inauguration was "another step towards ensuring Qatar has a labor system that reflects global best practice".
"The Government of Qatar now has another partner to promote and protect the rights of our guest workers," he said.
A deal to establish an ILO office in Qatar was struck last October after Doha agreed to a package of labor reforms which also included introducing a minimum wage and a grievance procedure for workers.
Doha and the ILO have signed a three-year program of technical cooperation on labor issues.