Poland is facing controversy over a bribery scandal involving the issuance of visas to migrants. According to various reports, employees at Polish consulates, especially in Africa and Asia, granted visas in exchange for money. Polish authorities report that seven individuals have been charged, and three have been arrested.
In a statement, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentioned that it terminated all contracts with external companies that assisted in visa processing, dismissed the head of the legal department, and is conducting a comprehensive investigation at consulates worldwide.
Poland’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Piotr Wawrzyk, is believed to have been the central figure in the visa scandal. He was dismissed at the end of August when the initial reports about the scandal emerged. This week, Polish media reported that he was hospitalized due to a suicide attempt.
Wawrzyk was responsible for consular affairs, including the visa issuance system. Reportedly, migrants paid up to $5,000 for a Polish visa. Since 2021, approximately 250,000 visas are said to have been granted in exchange for bribes.
The news site Onet reports that migrants from India paid around $25,000 to $40,000 to reach the United States. The group of Indians posed as a Bollywood film crew and managed to travel through Poland to Mexico, where they then crossed the border into the US.
The scandal surfaces just a month before parliamentary elections in Poland. The opposition is using these revelations to challenge the government’s credibility regarding its strict immigration policies. Donald Tusk, leader of the Civic Platform party, referred to it as “the biggest scandal in 21st-century Poland.”
For the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), the bribery scandal and the emerging details pose a growing problem. The party, aiming for a third term, had emphasized strong immigration stances in its campaign.