Record number of foreigners in Japan lose residency in 2018

A record 832 foreigners living in Japan were stripped of their residency status in 2018, more than double from the year before as the government tightens immigration regulations, authorities said.

Almost 70 percent of the total consisted of “students” or “technical trainees” who ran afoul of the law by not following the requirements to retain their legal status, the Immigration Services Agency said.

Those who had their student status rescinded numbered 412, an increase from 172 in 2017, while 153 individuals had their technical trainee status revoked, up from eight in the year before.

There were 80 cases in which the spouse or child of Japanese nationals were deprived of their family member visas, including those who had received them through fake marriages.

In order of magnitude, half of those who lost their residency status were Vietnamese citizens. They were followed by 152 Chinese nationals, 62 Nepalese and 43 Filipinos.

While the Japanese government widened its doors to foreign workers in certain sectors by launching a new visa system in April, it has been trying to crack down on cases involving foreign students and technical trainees who disappeared to pursue activities other than originally stated.

The government revoked the status of student for those who had left school but remained working in Japan, according to the agency under the Justice Ministry.

Others included cases of foreign nationals who obtained their status under government-sponsored technical training programs but vanished from their registered workplace to work at another company.

The agency is also looking to clamp down on schools that register students on their roster despite knowing they are working, as well as recruiters and companies that mistreat technical trainees.

If stripped of their residency status, foreign nationals face deportation and can be detained at immigration facilities in Japan.