Changes to New Zealand's immigration rules aimed at encouraging migrants to settle beyond Auckland have been welcomed by Rotorua's mayor.
But Steve Chadwick said yesterday it was too early to know exactly how - and when - the new policies would have an effect on Rotorua.
On Sunday Prime Minister John Key announced measures to increase the number of points prospective migrants would receive for their residency application if they chose to settle outside the Super City.
Under the changes, skilled workers and entrepreneurs would get an extra 20 bonus points for the promise of working or investing in the regions.
Mrs Chadwick said she could see the potential benefits, but cautioned against expecting an immediate influx of international jobseekers or investment in Rotorua as a result.
"I can see what's behind the decision and it's good for the regions, but I'm not sure when we are going to see it," she said.
"It takes a while for the points system to become a reality."
However, she was confident Rotorua was well placed to take advantage of any future wave of economic migration - particularly in the spa, health, wellness, and forestry industries.
She gave the example of the city's recently founded Chinese Business Association as proof the city was in a position to attract international investment to provide viable new jobs.
"I'm working very hard with the community to find investors who want to stay here for the long haul," said Mrs Chadwick.
Skilled migrants taking advantage of the new system would have to commit to working in the regions for at least a year.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Darrin Walsh said he welcomed any policy that "attracts people here and helps us grow".
But he warned against complacency when it came to attracting new talent.
"If the jobs are in other regions [apart from Rotorua], they will go there. The people coming into the regions are going to come [only] if the positions are there."
Lewis Whitworth, owner of Rotorua airconditioning and refrigeration company Aventurine, emigrated to New Zealand from England in 2010.
Although he eventually gained residency through his Kiwi partner, Mr Whitworth said he had made it halfway through an application as a skilled migrant.
Another 20 points for moving to the regions would have helped with his application.
"It would have made a big difference."
Keri-Anne Tane, general manager people and performance at Scion, which employs a number of people from overseas, said: "We consider the change may support our international appointments to speed up their applications, as well as recognising the contribution our international staff make to the region".
Immigration changes - Key facts
* Skilled migrants need 100 points for New Zealand residency.
* Business owners need 120.
* Changes would see skilled migrants receive 30 bonus points for settling in the regions (currently 10)
* Business owners/entrepreneurs would receive 40 (currently 20)
* Migrants would need to commit to the regions for at least a year.