Canterbury employers are fielding far more job applications from overseas than from within the region.
The recruitment company Decipher Group has found more than 70% of applicants for executive level roles are coming from offshore.
A spokesperson, Leanne Crozier, says the areas attracting the most attention are in IT software development and web design, as well as in construction roles such as quantity surveyors.
She says an advertisement for a particular IT role attracted 50 applications, with just 12 coming from within New Zealand. But she says employers prefer to employ locals.
Ms Crozier says the applicants are primarily from Ireland, India and Asia, with a few from Australia and the United Kingdom.