French Polynesia's assembly has voted for a new law to take into account the duration of residency in the allocation of work.
The measure, which was approved by a vast majority, comes into effect next year and is aimed at helping locals get jobs.
Employment minister Nicole Bouteau said it was important that jobs were reserved for French Polynesians when people with the same qualifications and experience apply.
In a statement, the government said such positive discrimination was allowed because of the autonomy statute enshrined in the French constitution.
The new system will require registered jobseekers to declare how long they have lived in French Polynesia while employers have to report who they hire.
The level of protection will be graded according to the length of residence.
This law is expected to yield a comprehensive overview of the labour force.