Cohen, Nir and Dani Kranz. “State-assisted Highly Skilled Return Programmes, National Identity and the Risk(s) of Homecoming: Israel and Germany Compared.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (ahead of print)
State-assisted return programmes (SARPs) have emerged as key components of diaspora mobilisation strategies in countries of origin. Especially in countries where the principle of jus sanguinis underpins citizenship regimes, these programmes have often been drawn from ostensibly national(istic) discourses in order to encourage the repatriation of (mostly highly skilled) citizens residing abroad. Drawing on interviews with public officials and migrants as well as content analysis of primary and secondary materials, this paper examines SARPs deployed by Israel and Germany. It argues that while the discourse and practice within which state programmes are embedded (re-)construct the nation in certain ways that are commensurate with perceived determinants of return, migrants have often rejected these formulations, underscoring instead a range of neglected personal and professional return-oriented risks. The paper’s main contribution lies in better clarifying the links between highly skilled return migration policy, national identity and migration determinants and uncovers the diverging articulations of return used by state and migrants alike.