Speaking at a press briefing for the second OV conference, Son noted remittances to Vietnam achieved an annual growth of 10-15 percent in recent years. In the first half of 2012, remittances reached over $6 billion, versus $9 billion in the whole of last year.

To date, Vietnamese living abroad have registered for investment in more than 2,000 projects at home, with total capital of around $6 billion.

However, the actual figure of OV direct and indirect investment is much higher, given the large-scale tourism and property projects with presence of overseas Vietnamese, who do not directly register the projects.

Vietnamese living overseas invest in many fields, such as agriculture, healthcare, education, industry, tourism and real estate. Notable projects are Ba Na cable car system in Danang and Da Lat Eden Resort in Da Lat City.

As OV have dual nationality, they are allowed to own houses in Vietnam, but according to Son, only about 200 out of the four million Vietnamese living in 104 nations abroad own homes in Vietnam.

The State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese has submitted to the government a scheme to lure OV intellectuals back home to contribute to the country’s development, said Thanh.

There are currently some 400,000 Vietnamese specialists and intellectuals living abroad, including hundreds of specialists working at high-ranking agencies of foreign countries, and hundreds of others working in the fields of electronics, medicine, high-tech and biology.

The second conference for OV will take place from September 26 to 30 at 111 Ba Huyen Thanh Huyen Street in HCM City’s District 3.

Organisers expect the event to attract 1,000 participants, including ministerial and local leaders, representatives of Vietnamese agencies overseas, businesspeople, artists, and social activists, among others.

The conference will offer chances for OV to make proposals on the policies.

The event consists of four symposiums, namely “Future of community – Economic integration and development”, “National cultural identity and tradition – Motive force for community solidarity”, “Overseas Vietnamese intellectuals with national industrialisation and modernisation – From potential to reality”, and “Overseas businesses for future of communities and country”.

The first conference was held in Hanoi three years ago.

By Tran Thu - The Saigon Times Daily - September 10, 2012