The mayor of Ashburton says making it easier for migrants to work in Canterbury will, in turn, help reinvigorate the region's economy.
Angus McKay said he wanted a friendlier, smoother transition for people coming to the area to live and work from abroad, as well as for New Zealanders.
A new regional development strategy, launched by 11 local authorities in Canterbury, is proposing a range of initiatives aimed at ensuring the region's economy does not rely too much on the Christchurch rebuild.
The strategy, developed by the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, involves seven priority areas, including newcomer and migrant settlement.
It's hoped the strategy will attract new people to Canterbury and ensure they are well supported and contribute to the workforce.
Mr McKay said there had been an influx of migrants into Ashburton over the past 10 years.
According to the latest census figures, he said, the average age of people in the district was falling as a result.