The highly skilled migrant ruling came into effect in 2004. The ruling means that highly skilled migrants enjoy a special status within Dutch law, which includes that they don’t require a work permit.
Non-EU citizens in the Netherlands are highly skilled migrants if they are employed by a recognized sponsor – a company participating in the highly skilled migrant scheme (kennismigrantregeling) by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). They must also meet the salary requirement. However, this salary requirement is lower for graduates with an orientation year permit. This remains valid for as long as the graduate works at the same company.
A highly skilled migrant is an immigrant from outside the EU (incl. Switzerland) who has permission to work in the Netherlands based on his or her (scientific) knowledge.