Home Sociology Integration Processes and Policies in Europe
Sending countries have taken an important leap from eking out a largely marginal existence to being recognized as a significant player in European-based (transnational) migration research. The overall field of sending country policies includes a complex and fairly comprehensive range of initiatives aimed at assisting and attracting support from emigrants and diasporas. These policies are recognized as interesting in and of themselves because they challenge the basic idea of congruence between political communities and state borders. An increasingly methodologically sophisticated analysis of especially single case studies and focused comparisons and recently also comparative statistical analyses have highlighted a series of core explanatory frameworks for understanding the motivations of sending countries for reaching out to their emigrants.
Understanding the scope and rationale of sending country policies towards emigrants is an important and ongoing research field. There is still a challenging research agenda ahead in terms of the transnational, national, and international politics of sending country policies. The policy field of migration and development stimulates partnership and collaboration among countries of residence and origin (and the migrants themselves). Yet, more studies are needed to understand the overall dynamics of how sending country outreach policies designed to keep or rekindle a relationship with nationals abroad impact processes of settlement and how they square with receiving country interests. In that respect, it is worth bearing in mind that emigrants and diasporas may not immediately respond to sending countries' outreach, because they are wary of the motives and credibility of these efforts and the extent to which they are sensitive to emigrant needs. Moreover, we still need to explore the extent to which European governments are moving away from the zerosum debate and the securitization optic on migrant transnationality to a more integrated three-way approach as envisioned by the European Commission. Such a shift may enable us to better understand the extent that sending country outreach policies aimed at both bonding with and supporting citizens abroad challenge territorial policy sovereignty and the strength of receiving countries in agenda-setting in international cooperation on migration and migrant settlement.
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