The immigration service has culled several professions from the list of approved occupations for skilled workers coming into the country.
Many are in the building and horse-racing industries.
Immigration New Zealand's removal of some construction roles from the list is supported by the sector's main umbrella group.
But the bar on racing workers, including stallion masters and jockeys, has puzzled veteran racing journalist Mike Dillon of the New Zealand Herald, who says the industry is short of such skilled people.
The changes are also criticised by the Association of Migration and Investment, which says the lists are far too narrowly focused.
Immigration New Zealand says its lists are drawn up after consultation with industry leaders.