More than 7000 foreigners have had work visas approved in the Bay of Plenty since July 2010.
Each year about 1500 people had their visas approved for employment in the Bay while between 130 and 160 visas were declined annually, according to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment data.
Immigration policy allows overseas workers to fill jobs when no New Zealanders are available; when there are skill shortages; under temporary conditions such as for a working holiday; or if they're Chinese nationals, religious workers or a part of other select groups. Certain occupations in areas such as engineering, health and social services, ICT, electronics and telecommunication, trades and transport are on long-term skill shortage lists.
Immigration New Zealand does a pretty good job [at] keeping its finger on this at a regional level
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the number of visas approved seemed about right.
"We seem to have a reasonably good match here in the Bay between opportunities and skills required in our various industry sectors so I would guess these (migrant visa) figures are consistent with that," he said.
"Immigration New Zealand does a pretty good job [at] keeping its finger on this at a regional level.
"But there are still shortages in some specialised areas like high-end ICT, specialised medical and diagnostic skills, and professional services like geotechnical engineering."
Closing skill gaps could be difficult.
"On the other hand there are some highly skilled people who come to Tauranga, say, with a partner who has a job, and they find it difficult to find the right opportunity for themselves," Mr Gregec said.
"Obviously it's desirable that we give locals the first bite at any new opportunity, but sometimes this doesn't work out and in those instances it's important that industry has access to the labour it needs - often on a seasonal basis when locals are not available," Mr Gregec said.
Zimbabwe expatriate Holly Wiles has been working as an audiologist at Triton Hearing in Tauranga for a few months after working in Whakatane at another audiologist for about a year. The 29-year-old moved to New Zealand after living and studying in the United States for 10 years and loves the New Zealand way of life.
Nationally, more than 860,000 people have had work visa applications approved since July 2010. In that time, 53,123 visa applications were declined.
The most common occupation gaining visas was tour guide, followed by chef and dairy cattle farmer. Cafe or restaurant manager, retail manager and retail supervisor were the next most common.
-Additional reporting by Ruth Keber