Pearson research finds skilled migrant contribution to the Australian economy outpacing national average

Australia, 21 March 2024: New research from Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, reveals migrants are driving the Australian economy and way of life, and outpacing the national average when it comes to filling the country’s most critical sectors.

According to Sasha Hampson, VP, PTE Global Stakeholder Relations at Pearson, “The data reveals that migrants are essential to bolstering the Australian economy as we continue to face a skills shortage and declining productivity growth, and more recent challenges such as a slowing economy.”

The Pearson Migrant and Student Study (PMASS) analyzed over 3000 Australian visa applicants who have taken Pearson’s Test of English Academic (PTE), a globally recognized English proficiency test approved by the Department of Home Affairs for all visa classes.

Pearson conducted the research, to understand migrant's economic, social, and cultural contributions and role in shaping Australians’ shared understanding of the ‘Great Australian Dream.’

In line with the most under-resourced fields according to the Government’s Migration Strategy, the PMASS found the migrants who had taken PTE were more likely to be employed in crucial fields. Over double the number of PTE test-takers were in aged and disability care compared to the general population (3.6% vs 1.4%), four times more were registered nurses (8.6% vs 2.1%) and seven times more were in software and applications programming (6.3% vs 0.9%).

Sasha Hampson said: “According to the 2023 Skills Priority List, more than a third of our occupations are in shortage (36%), which is worse than the year before (31%). Skilled migrants and international students, who themselves will likely become skilled workers, are a beacon of hope for Australia’s economy and way of life.”

Additional findings from the research also highlights the reciprocal benefit to migration - the value migrants add to the Australian economy and social fabric - and concurrently, the value that migrants see in Australia:

  • Migrants’ contributions to the economy grows, with PTE test takers earning an additional $20K per annum to the Australian salary median six months post settlement, which has a flow-on effect to the broader economy. An OECD report suggests areas with higher inflows of migrants gain an economic benefit of $1.5K per person and see a rise in productivity levels.
  • Australia is a nation of open arms, with 91% of PTE test takers feeling welcome in Australia.
  • Females see Australia as a land of freedom, with women more likely to value the independence they get from living in Australia (11% vs 5% of men).
  • Migrants are hopeful for their future in Australia: Migrants’ goals are achievable for study visa holders because of quality education facilities (21%), good job opportunities (17%), employment/career progression (16%), education (10%) and other factors.
  • Learning English is essential to positive migrant experiences according to 97% of PTE test takers, with over two thirds agreeing it’s important because it helped them understand Australian rules and regulations (67%), helped them into employment (66%) and increased ties to the wider community (63%).

These findings echo Pearson’s white paper, ‘Australian Dreams,’ which brings attention to how effective language testing in visa tests is essential to both legitimate migration and subsequently, migrants’ integration and positive experiences in Australia. The white paper is informed by the PMASS as well as interviews with over 30 test takers conducted in focus groups in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, which uncovered stories of how taking PTE and moving to Australia changed their lives for the better.

The paper will be launched as part of Harmony Week by Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O'Connor at Parliament House today, hosted by Sasha Hampson and test takers Nadia Mofrad and Eric John de Guzman.

Test taker from Iran, Nadia Mofrad, said: “The cultural ethos of inclusivity and respect for individual freedoms in Australia has made me feel not just welcomed, but valued. As a student turned marketer and content creator, I have finally carved out my own path towards financial independence and it was honing the English language that was most crucial to helping me build my own Australian Dream.”

And Eric John de Guzman, a migrant from the Philippines shared: “I initially came to Australia to pursue my master's degree in education. Having lived here for two years, I feel a deep sense of inclusion and belonging. My journey to and in Australia has shown me the value of learning English. It has helped me succeed as a teacher and given me the confidence to make real connections with other Australians."

Sasha Hampson added: “Skilled workers and international students are essential to Australia’s economy, education system and way of life. This research is evidence of the positive contributions they provide to Australia and to our collective understanding of the ‘Australian Dream’.

“Shared language plays a key role in supporting the expression of these stories and dreams. As Australia continues to depend on migration, it is vital that trusted, secure, and reliable English tests are in place to ensure future migrants can sustain the things we as Australians hold dear - diversity, inclusion, opportunity, a skilled, resourced workforce, and strong economy.”


Notes to Editors

Nadia, Eric and Sasha are available for interviews.
Migration Expert Abul Rizvi is also available for comment.

Media Contact
Name: Yvette Hammerschmidt
Company: Thrive PR
Phone Number: 0423 121 031


Led by research house, Insightfully, the Pearson Australian Migrant Survey surveyed 3001 migrants currently residing in Australia who achieved a score 50 points and above on the Pearson Test of English Academic between 2017-2023. The study explored migration and student migrant experiences, experiences with Pearson Test of English Academic compared with competitor tests, and comparison with the Federal Government’s Continuous Survey of Australian Migrants (CSAM). The survey was conducted online in November 2023 and data was weighted by age, gender, test score and reason for sitting the test. The ‘CSAM’ variable in this survey is broadly comparable to the highly skilled migrants who participated in ‘Cohort 6’ of the Department of Home Affairs ‘Cohort 6 Report – Introductory survey – 2018’.

About Pearson
At Pearson, our purpose is simple: to add life to a lifetime of learning. We believe that every learning opportunity is a chance for a personal breakthrough. That is why our c. 20,000 Pearson employees are committed to creating vibrant and enriching learning experiences designed for real-life impact. We are the world’s leading learning company, serving customers in nearly 200 countries with digital content, assessments, qualifications, and data. For us, learning is not just what we do. It’s who we are. Visit us at

About Pearson Test of English (PTE)
Pearson Test of English (PTE) provides secure English language testing for study applications worldwide, and for visa applications for work and migration in Australia, the UK, New Zealand, and Canada. Every year, tens of thousands of people trust PTE to help them rapidly prove their English proficiency – and to open doors to their future lives and careers.