Poland Rocked By Visas-for-Cash Scandal

Sunday, September 17, 2023 | Tag Cloud

By Stefan J.Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

WARSAW/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Efforts by Poland’s conservative governing party to make migration a campaign theme seemed to fail Sunday after revelations that diplomats provided 250,000 visas in exchange for bribes.

The ruling Law and Justice party is being rocked by reports that Polish consulates issued visas in Africa and Asia, opening the door for migrants to enter the European Union.

Some of the migrants fleeing war, persecution, and poverty also used it as a launching pad to enter the United States, according to investigators.

Prosecutors and the state Anti-Corruption Office say seven people — none of them state officials — have been detained so far over corruption allegations surrounding issuing a few hundred temporary work visas.

They said the investigation began in July 2022 and was ongoing.

Details about the corruption scandal come ahead of the heavily Catholic country’s parliamentary elections on October 15, leaving Law and Justice struggling to control the damage.


Opposition leader Donald Tusk, a former prime minister and president of the European Union’s European Council, spoke about “the biggest scandal of the 21st century in Poland.”

The allegations could seriously hit the conservative ruling party ahead of next month’s parliamentary elections, analysts say.

Previous opinion polls suggested the party would win most votes, but probably not enough to govern single-handedly or with its current allies.

Law and Justice, which has put opposition to migration at the center of its policies, wants to win an unprecedented third term in power in the October 15 vote.

Poland’s populist anti-migration government, which has close ties with a similar cabinet in Hungary, refused to admit migrants within an EU burden-sharing program.

It spent about 1.6 billion zlotys ($380,000) last year on a massive wall along the border with Belarus, intended to block the inflow of Middle Eastern and African migrants.


Reports say the influx of migrants reduced but wasn’t entirely stopped.

Yet after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Poland opened its border to millions of refugees, offering them accommodation and jobs.

About 1.3 million Ukrainians — primarily women and children — are registered as residing in neighboring Poland.

However, as the scandal about other migrants unfolded, Polish President President Andrzej Duda urged people to await the investigation results into the visa corruption scandal. “According to my knowledge, at least some of the information in the media is untrue.”

Yet, with more details emerging, it remained unclear how much longer the government could deny wrongdoing.

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