A refugee charity says that children are facing “extreme risks” thanks to the “impossible” bureaucratic requirements demanded by one of the few legal routes for asylum seekers.

The government’s family reunion scheme places impossible demands on children seeking to join relatives in the UK, according to Ramfel, a charity that supports vulnerable migrants. Young refugees in Sudan, for example, have to make a perilous journey to visa application centres in neighbouring countries; the centre in Khartoum has been closed, yet the home office is still insisting that applicants have to register their fingerprints and biometric information in person.

Some of teenagers seeking sanctuary have now fled Sudan; one has been detained in Libya, while another has been trafficked to South Sudan and raped.

An Eritrean refugee living in the UK has described his desperate attempt to reunite with his two younger brothers, aged 17 and 14. When he applied for family reunion, he was refused as there was no TB testing facility nor a visa centre in Sudan.

The two teenagers are now living illegally in Egypt , facing arrest and detention.