Moving on

Many LGBTQI  people flee their country because of the persecution they face due to their sexuality, gender identity or intersex status. Those who find safety in the UK and become refugees have to build a whole new life. Micro Rainbow can help you in this process with employability and moving on support.

About our moving on programme

Homosexuality is criminalised in more than 65 countries in the world and society persecutes and discriminates against LGBTQI people in even more countries. Those LGBTQI people who fear for their lives are sometimes able to reach the UK and claim asylum on the basis of their sexual orientation, and/or their gender identity, and/or the way their bodies looks. After going through the asylum determination process, successful LGBTQI claimants are subject to a number of further issues, including poverty, that extend their experience of marginalisation and exclusion in their new country.

Micro Rainbow’s work and consultations with LGBTQI refugees show that:

  • they often live in poverty
  • the major obstacles to finding employment are:
    • the lack of UK-based work experience as well as their refugee status, race, sexuality and gender which are intersecting issues that put them at the fringes of the job market
    • the qualifications that they have gained in their countries of origin are often not valid in the UK
    • low confidence and self-esteem
  • the material hardships of their everyday lives emerging from the simple fact of being an LGBTQI refugee include:
    • opening a bank account when presenting their refugee documents;
    • the sudden suspicion of potential employers as soon as they became aware that they are refugees; and
    • the rejection of their family members, co-nationals and places of faith in the UK.

 After piloting and testing activities for over ten years, we have shaped an LGBTQI-refugee centred moving on programme which is already showing three interesting results:

  • it creates new, practical and life-changing opportunities for LGBTQI refugees
  • it changes social attitudes and the negative stereotypes that society often associates with LGBTQI refugees
  • it provides new data and life stories that are powerful tools for advocacy.

Getting started

This consists of one-to-one support to those who have recently become refugees in order to:

  • obtain National Insurance numbers
  • register with Universal Credit
  • open bank accounts


Micro Rainbow works with various partners, including the third and private sector, to:

  • provide one to one support over a period of six to twelve months to prepare and review a moving on plan (e.g. to find employment)
  • organise workshops around CV writing and interview skills
  • facilitate job opportunities

Fellowship programme

This programme is exclusively for LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees. It is designed to ensure visibility and leadership of people with lived experience within Micro Rainbow and the wider society.

Improving employability skills with Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP

Learn about how employability workshops can help you progress

Success stories

Leaving Kyiv

From Kyiv to the UK

Learn how Micro Rainbow helped a gay doctor from Kyiv escape persecution and find safety in the UK. Read Bohdan’s inspiring story of resilience and hope.

Latest updates

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Interview skills and contracts

The second Trinnovo session focused on interview skills and contracts – find out how beneficial this was for attendees.

Leaving Kyiv

From Kyiv to the UK

Learn how Micro Rainbow helped a gay doctor from Kyiv escape persecution and find safety in the UK. Read Bohdan’s inspiring story of resilience and hope.

Maria's story. Two sets of hands clasped together.

Maria’s story

Maria is a trans woman from El Salvador, she recently received the right to work and is working in a cancer ward support role.

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Queer Afghanistan, what can we do?

Many people are asking us how they can support LGBTQI people fleeing persecution from Afghanistan. You can help us run a helpline in Pashto/Dari, buy winter clothes, volunteer as a counsellor and much more. Thank you for your support!

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Join our register of counsellors!

Are you a counsellor? Join our register of volunteer counsellors. You could play a vital role in helping LGBTQI refugees to live fulfilling lives in the UK.


Estelle’s Story

Refugee Action spoke to Estelle, a volunteer Asylum Guide, who trained as part of their Navigating Asylum Partnerships project, funded by Comic Relief. This is Estelle’s story.


Ericky’s Story

Refugee Action spoke to Ericky, a volunteer Asylum Guide, who trained as part of their Navigating Asylum Partnerships project, funded by Comic Relief. This is Ericky’s story.

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Tips for interpreters working with LGBTQI asylum seekers

The process of applying for asylum as an LGBTQI person can be very daunting, especially for those who may also be struggling to communicate in a new language. Interpreters have an important role to play in asylum claims and this article explains how.

Rainbow Heart

Rahim’s story

Rahim shares his inspiring experience of how, after over a year of destitution and homelessness, Micro Rainbow’s moving on programme helped him get his foot in the door of a major UK retail company.

Sanctuary at The Walthamstow Wetlands

Sanctuary at The Walthamstow Wetlands

This activity, dancing at the Wetlands, allows LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees to use their bodies to express themselves and to heal past trauma. Micro Rainbow’s social inclusion programme is a key element of our holistic approach to integration.

Micro Rainbow Logo

Why asylum seekers should be granted permission to work

Jill Power, describes Micro Rainbow’s view on a controversial issue that affects the lives of thousands of people seeking refuge every year: granting asylum seekers the right to work while their asylum case is determined.

Case study

Lesbian refugee from Nigeria

“It is hard to survive in the UK when you don’t have a job, you don’t have friends with jobs, and your family members hate you because you are lesbian.”

This work could not happen without the transformational support of Paul Hamlyn Foundation

To support the Body and Movement work or Micro Rainbow’s broader programme, contact [email protected]