Background Surveys are frequently used to collect data. Although paper surveys are commonly used, online surveys are gaining in popularity, with the inclusion of open-ended questions (OEQs) allowing respondents to freely express their views. Little is known about how Filipino-Australian migrants respond to surveys. There is some concern about the usefulness of OEQs administered to culturally and linguistically diverse migrants, who may have limited capacity to articulate their thoughts in writing. Aim To examine the responses of Filipino-Australian migrants to a survey. Discussion A total of 552 respondents were recruited, of whom 428 (78%) completed the questionnaire online. The overall response rate to the OEQs was 69%, with higher completion rates among those given a paper-based questionnaire and those with university educations. Conclusion Filipino migrants with functional English language skills responded well to the online survey. Paper-based administration elicited more OEQ responses, which is attributed to greater interaction between participants and researchers. Those with university educations may have more capacity to express themselves in English and were therefore more likely to complete the OEQs. Implications for practice The high response rate obtained in this study suggests that among Filipino-Australian migrants who rated their English language skills and educational level highly, the translation of OEQs may not be necessary. This has important implications for resources in research. Face-to-face interaction between participants and researchers is an important strategy for increasing the rates of response to OEQs.