The Polish government is facing a visa fraud scandal that threatens to tarnish its anti-immigration stance ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections, reports TVN24. According to allegations, Polish consulates have been issuing work visas to migrants from Asia and Africa in return for thousands of dollars. Seven people have been detained, and the deputy foreign minister responsible for consular matters, Piotr Wawrzyk, has been dismissed over the scandal.
The opposition claims that a significant number of visas were expedited without adequate checks through intermediaries and consulates. The government counters these allegations by suggesting that the scale is exaggerated. While authorities concede that several hundred work visas may have been illicitly issued in countries like India, the Middle East, and other parts of Asia, opposition leader Donald Tusk claims the number could be as high as 250,000 visas, calling it “probably the biggest scandal in Poland in the 21st century.”
The scandal has broader implications for the European Union. Polish media reports suggest that other EU states raised concerns after noticing a high number of migrants entering the EU with Polish visas. Since Poland is part of the Schengen area, these migrants can easily travel to other EU countries like Germany, raising questions about border security and oversight.
The timing is particularly challenging for the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which has made its anti-immigration stance a cornerstone of its re-election campaign for the October 15 vote. The party is leading in the opinion polls but is likely to fall short of a majority. In recent years, the government has not only rejected participation in the EU’s migrant burden-sharing program but also constructed a steel wall along its border with Belarus to prevent migrant entry.