This study takes a novel perspective on mobility as career script compliance to explore the factors that might influence how mobile academics in a country perceive the impact of international mobility on their overall academic career progression and job options. We conduct a country-level qualitative comparative analysis on a sample of 24 European Union (EU) countries, based on data from European Commission’s MORE3 indicator tool. We find that these perceptions about the impact are shaped by the dominant patterns of mobility in that country, and the general perception of academics in that particular country that international mobility is rewarded in the institutional promotion schemes. This study introduces new explanatory factors for the career script for international mobility. In so doing, we provide a richer understanding of how countries might influence academics’ mobility, which sheds light on previous inconclusive empirical evidence linking international mobility and academics’ careers. Our findings have implications for the policy design of international mobility and open up new lines of inquiry for cross-country comparisons.