The Ministry of Labour, War Invalid and Social Affairs has completed a proposal to support Vietnamese guest workers returning from Libya with an estimated fund of 50 billion VND (2.4 million USD), said Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Hoa.

If approved by the Prime Minister, this would be the second Government financial support for over 10,000 workers since they returned home three months ago.

As soon as the war broke out in Libya , the Vietnamese Government called for domestic and international efforts to evacuate Vietnamese workers. They were each given 1 million VND (48 USD) upon their return, and the Government also urged local authorities and companies to offer job training and create new work for them.

Hoa said that under the proposal, priority would be given to returnees from the 62 poorest districts of the country with a valid Libyan labour contract.

Almost all of the workers had taken out loans before moving to Libya in order to pay for job training, accommodation and travel.

Domestic labour export companies were also eligible for support if Libyan employers did not pay their brokerage fees.

In addition to Governmental support, some provinces have initiated their own assistance programmes, Hoa said, giving an example of Ninh Binh where each returnee was granted 1-3 million VND (48 USD-146 USD) and free job training and consultation.

The central province of Ha Tinh also held an employment day last month, with more than 8,000 job vacancies both domestic and international.

However, Luu Van Hung from the northern province of Hai Duong said he worked in Libya for nearly one month and then left the country without payment having already had to pay the labour export company over 35 million VND (1,700 USD) to work abroad.

"I borrowed nearly half of that sum and have to pay monthly interest," he said, adding that since returning, the only work he had been able to find was helping his wife to farm.

"I have asked the labour company many times about support or job vacancies but they just asked me to wait," he said, " It will be hard for my family to pay back the debt through farming alone."

"Under the Libyan labour contract, I could have earned 8 million VND per month by working 10 hours a day, so I could send money home to improve my family's life here," he regretted.

Hoa said that many companies have yet to liquidate contracts and compensate workers because they faced difficulties in negotiations with Libyan employers about brokerage fees and payment for those who worked for less than a year.

The ministry's Department of Overseas Worker Management recently boosted developing labour markets including Saudi Arabia, Russia and Malaysia, he said, adding that those who returned from Libya would be given priority./.