Less than a month remains before Qatar makes drastic changes to its sponsorship system, which critics have said left workers open to exploitation and abuse.

Qatar’s Emir signed into law new legislation governing the entry, exit and residency of foreigners and set a deadline of Dec. 13 for its implementation.

While changes to the law have been lauded by critics for simplifying rules of foreign workers in Qatar, some say the law stopped short of addressing the key issues of exit permits.

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Here are the top five changes explained:

  1. In the event that the sponsor obstructs a foreign worker’s departure, he or she may seek recourse at the Foreign Nationals Exit Grievances Council, whose formation, purview, organizational structure, and official proceedings shall follow in accordance with a decree to be declared.
  2. Employees of open-ended contracts can move to another employer after spending a minimum of five years with the first employer.
  3. Two year-ban on a new work visa will no longer be applicable.
  4. QR50,000 fine and up to three-year jail terms to be handed to any sponsor who allows his foreign worker to work for other parties without official approval.
  5. Up to QR25,000 fine for keeping or taking away passports of foreign workers without their permission.