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New Zealanders will be first in line for Canterbury rebuild jobs after a new visa rule which comes into effect today.
The new rule means visa applications to fill "most jobs" in Canterbury won't be processed until a check has been done to ensure there are no suitable New Zealanders to fill the vacancy.
"The rule also benefits employers because it streamlines the visa process," Immigration Minister Nathan Guy said.
"Employers will know sooner if a visa application for a migrant worker is likely to succeed."
From today, employers must register vacancies for trades, clerical and manual occupations in Canterbury with the Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub before they supported a visa application for a migrant to fill the vacancy.
If there were suitable New Zealanders available to do the job, the Skills Hub would help put the employer in touch with the candidates.
"If there are not, the Skills Hub will confirm this in a letter that can be sent to Immigration New Zealand along with a visa application for a migrant to be considered to fill the vacancy," Mr Guy said.
"The letter means Immigration New Zealand will no longer perform a labour market check (including a referral to Work and Income) as this job will already have been performed by the Skills Hub.
"This will speed up the visa processing time for employers and help towards the rebuild effort."
The rule change affected most jobs in Canterbury, including trades, clerical and manual jobs.
It did not affect highly skilled occupations, or occupations on the Canterbury Skills Shortage List.