UK

Chess prodigy Shreyas Royal in plea to stay in UK

Shreyas Royal Image copyright Jitendra Singh
Image caption Shreyas Royal has competed in European and world championship tournaments

The family of a nine-year-old chess prodigy from India who have been told they must leave the UK are calling on the government to let them stay.

Shreyas Royal has been dubbed Britain's "greatest chess prospect in a generation" and is ranked number four in the world in his age group.

But his father's visa will expire next month and the family, who came to the UK six years ago, must return to India.

The Home Office said it assessed every case on its own merits.

Shreyas was born in India but has lived in south London since the age of three when his father, Jitendra Singh, was offered a job as an IT project manager.

Shreyas learnt to play the game in Britain and has since represented England internationally. He is currently competing in the British Chess Championships, which could be his last UK tournament.

Image copyright Jitendra Singh
Image caption Shreyas learned to play chess in the UK

Mr Singh, whose five-year work visa is due to expire next month, is calling on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to let the family stay.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We just want to request that you can give chance to my son whose talent developed here in England.

"The support and recognition that he's getting in England, I'm sure he will not get it in India."

Immigration rules would allow Mr Singh's visa to be extended if he earned £120,000 a year, but he does not.

'Exceptional talent'

Two MPs have backed Shreyas' case.

In a joint letter to the home secretary, Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves and Greenwich and Woolwich MP Matthew Pennycook said the UK would lose an "exceptional talent" if Shreyas was to leave.

"The UK should always encourage the world's brightest, most talented people to work and make their lives here," they wrote.

"Shreyas is recognised by the English Chess Federation as the country's greatest chess prospect in a generation."

They said despite Mr Singh's employer wanting him to continue working for them in the UK on his current salary, "there is no mechanism for him to apply to remain in the UK".

The Home Office said: "Every visa case is assessed on its own merits in line with immigration rules."

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