Photo/IllutrationThe Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, where foreign nationals whose visas were revoked are detained. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Immigration authorities revoked residence visas last year for 832 foreign nationals, most of whom were students or technical interns.

The figure, more than double that of 2017, is the highest since 2005 when record-keeping began, the Immigration Services Agency announced Aug. 21.

An official of the agency affiliated with the Justice Ministry attributed the increase to the high number of technical trainees who went missing or students who quit their studies and continued to live illegally in Japan.

Of the total, 412 individuals, or 49.5 percent, had student visas revoked, up 2.4-fold from the previous year, while 153, or 18.4 percent, were technical trainees, surging from eight the previous year.

With an increasing number of technical interns abandoning their assigned jobs in recent years due to grim working conditions, authorities began applying stricter standards for revoking visas in January 2017.

The agency also said it revoked "spouse or child of Japanese national" visas for 80 individuals, while 69 lost their "engineer or specialist in humanities or international services” residential status, which is mainly for those who work in Japan.

Of the former, many continued to live in Japan more than half a year after divorcing Japanese nationals. Others indicated fictional companies as their employers on their application forms.

By nationality, 416 Vietnamese had their visas revoked, the highest and accounting for nearly half of the total, followed by 152 Chinese and 62 Nepalese.