A new visa rule that came into effect on Monday guarantees Kiwis are at the front of the queue for jobs on the Christchurch rebuild.
Checks will be carried out to ensure there are no suitable New Zealanders to fill vacancies on most Canterbury jobs before visa applications are processed.
The new rule also streamlines the visa process for employers, who will know sooner if a visa application for a migrant worker is likely to succeed, Immigration Minister Nathan Guy says.
Employers are now required to register trades, clerical and manual job vacancies in Canterbury with the Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub before supporting a visa application for a migrant.
The hub will put employers in touch with suitable New Zealand workers, or confirm there are none in a letter that can be sent to Immigration New Zealand to support a migrant's visa application.
Immigration New Zealand will no longer perform labour market checks, including Work and Income referrals, as the hub is taking over that responsibility.
The new rule is similar to a Labour Party policy announced last year to require employers for all jobs to prove they had checked with Work and Income and industry training organisations for suitable New Zealanders before bringing in overseas labour.