Applications for work permits in four key sectors are to be refused, following a number of recent redundancies in those areas.
The Department of Trade and Industry says new applicants will come under greater scrutiny in the construction, retail, wholesale distribution and hospitality sectors, where there is now a clear availability of Isle of Man workers.
The Minister, David Cretney, says the system must operate in the best interests of the Island and its economy, which will often involve importing labour where specialist skills or experience are needed.
However, local workers must be protected in, what he calls, 'the changing labour market'.
He told Manx Radio:
"What we will be doing also is that, where work permits are issued, they may well be issued for six months rather than the usual twelve, again to take account of the ongoing situation.
"It's clear there are a large number of people available to take up any employment opportunities that come up, and first and foremost those should go to local people."