The Government says a visa rule that has just come into effect will help ensure New Zealanders are first in line for job vacancies created during the rebuilding of Canterbury.
Under the rule, overseas people applying for a work visa will not have the visa issued until a check has been done to ensure there are no suitable New Zealanders to fill the vacancy.
Immigration Minister Nathan Guy said employers must register vacancies for trades, clerical and manual occupations with the Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub before they support an application for an immigrant to fill a vacancy.
Within 48 hours of registration staff at the Hub are to inform an employer whether there are local workers available, he said. If there are none, the next step is to bring in a migrant worker through a visa process.
Recruitment company Coverstaff, which specialises in trade positions, says employers cannot rule out the essential role immigrants will play.
The sales and marketing director Clive Murden says there is no doubt overseas labour is needed to supplement the local workforce.
The Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub has 240 registered employers in its system, 800 job seekers and 200 job vacancies.