Cairns, one of the world's leading allrounders and one of only six players to achieve the 200 wickets-3,000 runs double, told Bigstarcricket.com that players cannot afford to ignore the lucrative salaries on offer.
"The ICC are going to have to fix this," Cairns said, calling for players to be able to play in the ICL and not be banned.
Cairns is one of several New Zealanders signed with the rebel league.
Most signed after retiring from international cricket, although the numbers do include Shane Bond, Lou Vincent and Craig McMillan.
But Cairns said it was not just a New Zealand problem.
"West Indies will have this problem too, any country in fact where players are not that well remunerated."
Cairns said if there was a 10 or 20 percent discrepancy between ICL earnings and remaining on a New Zealand cricketer's salary then players would consider staying home.
"But when you are talking a 200 percent difference no person in their right mind could turn that down, that's the reality."
Although a sanctioned series, the India Premier League, has been set up to rival the ICL its eight franchises have filled their books and there is no scope to add players while the initial contracts run their three-year terms.
Earlier this month New Zealand Cricket announced a substantial pay increase of up to 40 percent for its contracted players.
The new pay scale ranges from a reported 174,000 New Zealand dollars (80,000 US) for the top-ranked New Zealand player down to 72,000 dollars for the 20th ranked player.