Through an analysis of 497 foreign researchers in Italy and Portugal we verify the impact of home linkages on return mobility choices and scientific productivity. We consider the presence of several different types of linkages of the researchers working abroad with their country of origin and control for the most relevant contextual factors (age, research area, position in the host country, etc.). The probability of return to their home country and scientific productivity in the host country are both higher for researchers that maintain home linkages. We conclude that the presence of home linkages directly benefits both countries in addition to the indirect benefit of expanding the scientific networks. Policy implications and suggestions for further research are discussed. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.