HANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ The German government will help pay to retrain jobless Vietnamese workers who return to their country from Germany.

The project's coordinator, Brunhilde Vest, said Germany has agreed to provide $6.1 million to teach workers new skills and to provide loans to start their own businesses.

The effort, under an agreement signed by Hanoi and Bonn last year, reflects the problem of high unemployment in Germany. It's not clear, however, how many people will return to Vietnam, where unemployment is at least 12 percent.

A German diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, estimated that about 19,000 Vietnamese now live legally in Germany, with 10,000 more there illegally. To be eligible for the retraining project, Vietnamese workers must have stayed legally in Germany for more than two years, he said.

Labor Ministry officials from across Vietnam will meet in the capital next week to begin training sessions for managing the program, Vest said.

Germany already operates similar projects for workers returning to Chile, Eritrea and Slovenia, she said.