Nine-year-old chess prodigy Shreyas Royal and his family have been granted permission to continue living in the United Kingdom.
Shreyas' father Jitendra Singh received an email and a phone call from the country's Home Secretary office confirming the news on Friday. "Shreyas is happy and delighted with the news. I received an email and a phone call saying we can continue living in the UK," he confirmed to TNM.
The Home Secretary office had earlier asked the family to leave the country next month when Jitendra's work visa expired. He was told that he can renew the visa only if he manages to earn more than £120,000 a year, something he admits will not happen.
Jitendra, an employee at Tata Consultancy Services in London, had appealed to the Home Secretary Sajid David to let him and his family continue living in the UK due to his "exceptional talents in chess".
Jitendra's appeal had garnered support from MP's Rachel Reeves and Matthew Pennycook. Rachel wrote to the Home Secretary requesting the family be allowed to continue living in the country. "Shreyas won a silver medal for England at the Under-8 European Championship. However, English chess stands to lose Shreyas' considerable talents in September when his father's visa eligibility is due to expire," she noted in the letter.
It appears that the appeal by the family and the MP along with a request by the English Chess Federation has done the trick for the family of the 9-year-old. They were considering shifting to another European country to further his chess career before the decision was taken to allow them to continue living in the UK.
Jitendra hails from Bokaro in Jharkhand state of India and relocated to Bengaluru in 2005 to work for Motorola. He spent seven years in the southern Indian city and later joined TCS in 2011 before shifting to the UK a year later.
Shreyas Royal was born in Bengaluru before shifting to the UK, where he began playing chess at the age of 5.