British MPs urge govt to allow nine-year-old Indian-origin chess champ to remain in UK indefinitely
British MPs and civil society groups have launched a campaign to urge home secretary Sajid Javid to allow Shreyas Royal, a nine-year-old chess prodigy born in India, to remain indefinitely in the UK after September, when his father's visa expires.Updated: Aug 04, 2018 23:31 IST
British MPs and civil society groups have launched a campaign to urge home secretary Sajid Javid to allow Shreyas Royal, a nine-year-old chess prodigy born in India, to remain indefinitely in the UK after September, when his father's visa expires.
Seen as Britain’s “greatest chess prospect in a generation”, Royal has represented England in international tournaments and is currently competing in the British Chess Championship. His parents, Jitendra (an IT professional) and Anju Singh moved to London from India in 2012.
Responding to Dominic Lawson of the English Chess Federation, who urged the Home Office to allow Royal to stay in the UK, Caroline Noakes, minister for immigration, said: “Whilst Shreyas does show immense promise in the field of competitive chess I am afraid there is no route, within the rules, that will allow Mr Singh and his family to remain in the country.”
Labour MPs Rachel Reeves and Matthew Pennycook wrote to Javid: “The only way Shreyas’s father would be eligible to renew his visa would be to earn more than £1,20,000 a year.
"As a result, despite his employer wishing him to continue working on his current projects, there is no mechanism for him to apply to remain in the UK. The family faces being forced to leave the only home Shreyas has ever known in less than two months’ time.
“If Shreyas Royal is forced to leave the UK and return to India, the country will lose an exceptional talent. We therefore urge you to intervene as a matter of urgency to grant Shreyas and his family the right to remain in the UK,” the MPs added.
Reeves, a former junior chess champion, said Royal is ranked the fourth best chess player in the world for his age and won a silver medal for England at the under-8 European Championship. A Home Office spokesperson said: “Every visa case is assessed on its own merits in line with immigration rules.”