The family of a child chess prodigy living in London has been given the right to stay in Britain because of his “world class talent.”
Nine-year-old Shreyas Royal had faced leaving the country with his parents when his father’s work visa expires next month, the UK Press Association news agency reported.
In a post on his Facebook page Friday, Shreyas celebrated the news that they could now stay, saying it was an “absolute pleasure for all of us.”
“I would like to (say) a big thanks to each and everyone from my bottom of heart!” he wrote. “First of all thank you to God given me a strength during my worst time!”
Shreyas, who plays for Battersea Chess Club, was born in India but moved to Britain when he was three years old after his father, an IT project manager, was offered a job there, according to PA.
The Home Office said the boy’s father, Jitendra Singh, had been given permission to apply for another five-year work visa without leaving the United Kingdom due to the “exceptional circumstances” of Shreyas’ talent, according to PA.
“After carefully reviewing the evidence, I have taken the personal decision to allow Shreyas and his family to stay in the UK,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid said.
“The UK is a country that fosters world class talent and Shreyas is one of the most gifted chess players in his generation.
“We have always been clear we want a world-class immigration system that welcomes highly talented individuals from across the globe.”
Battersea Chess Club, which was established in 1885, welcomed the Home Office decision in a statement on its website.
“Shreyas is a very nice, down-to-earth young man who has a big future ahead of him on the world stage hopefully representing England,” said club secretary Leon Watson.
“We firmly believe he will do us proud. We wish him every success going forward. In 10 years’ time we hope he’ll be a household name as England’s first world champion.”
Shreyas’ campaign to stay had also been backed by lawmaker Rachel Reeves, who tweeted ahead of the decision that “Shreyas is one of our best and brightest” and appealed to Javid for his deportation to be halted.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Shreyas announced that following his performance at the British Chess Championship he was now ranked second in the world for his age group.