Britons to be impacted as New Zealand tightens immigration rules for skilled workers

New Zealand is following Australia and the US in making it tougher for skilled overseas workers to get jobs.

The Pacific island nation is introducing regulations that tighten up requirements foreign workers need to secure work.

It comes as immigration numbers in New Zealand - most predominantly from the UK, China and India - reach an all-time high.

Only on Tuesday, Australia scrapped a popular temporary visa for skilled overseas workers.

US President Donald Trump has also signed an order which he claims will help American workers whose jobs are threatened by skilled immigrants.

The number of immigrants to New Zealand is increasing. Credit: AP

On Wednesday, New Zealand's immigration minister Michael Woodhouse said the government was unapologetic that firms are finding it harder to recruit people from abroad.

"We are absolutely committed to the principle of kiwis first," Mr Woodhouse said.

The changes include new higher income thresholds, while other changes will impose three-year limit for workers with lower skills.

This is the second time New Zealand has tightened immigration rules in the past six months - with national elections due later this year.

Last year, immigration reached a record 71,300 people, equivalent to 1.5% of New Zealand's total population of 4.8 million people.

Mr Woodhouse said the changes would control the number and improve the quality of immigrants.