Vietnam is working with its partners on procedures to evacuate over 4,500 Vietnamese workers in Libya to neighbouring countries like Egypt, Turkey, Malta, Greece, the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia, said the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA).

Of the evacuees, 412 workers have already been brought to a third country and 282 others have been put on a flight to Vietnam on Feb. 25, the ministry said at a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and relevant ministries and agencies in Hanoi on Feb. 25.

According to the MoLISA report, as many as 10,482 Vietnamese construction workers are working in Libya, mostly on projects of foreign companies from Turkey, Greece, Germany and Brazil.

Of the labourers, about 2,000 work in Benghazi city, where protests were firstly reported, and about 5,000 others in Tripoli, where protests are taking place.

Unrest in Libya severely affected life, work and safety of the labourers, MoLISA said, adding that most Vietnamese workers have been stood down. In addition to safety concerns, the workers are faced with a lack of food.

MoLISA has been working closely with the Foreign Ministry to instruct Vietnamese representative agencies abroad to receive and ensure procedures for the workers to help them return home.

However, the return faces difficulties, particularly means of transport from Libya to a third country, due to paralysis of all operations in the northern African nation.

At the meeting, PM Dung spoke highly of efforts made by relevant ministries and agencies to evacuate and ensure safety for the Vietnamese workers in Libya, urging them to promptly bring the workers home in a safe and orderly manner.

He asked the Foreign Ministry, MoLISA, the Ministry of Public Security and the Defence Ministry to send more representatives, including a deputy foreign minister, to Libya, to discuss safety for the Vietnamese labourers with relevant local authorities and companies employing Vietnamese workers. In the immediate future, all Vietnamese workers in the unstable locations of Benghazi and Tripoli cities will be evacuated.

The PM also requested Vietnam’s representative agencies, including embassies, in neighbouring countries that the Vietnamese workers evacuate to, to promptly work with local governments and companies to ensure safety and the provision of necessities for the workers, as well as coordinate with countries and the International Labour Organisation to join hands in bringing the labourers back to Vietnam .

He also asked relevant ministries to try to bring the workers home by air.

PM Dung assigned MoLISA to receive and provide initial support of 1 million VND for each returnee and continue assistance policies in line with existing regulations.

The PM agreed with the establishment of a steering committee on settlement of Vietnamese workers in the Middle East and North Africa with an aim of safely bringing the labourers back to the country./.