GERMAN government officials have initiated discussions with their Polish counterparts to seek clarification regarding a visa scandal involving Polish consulates issuing visas in Africa and Asia in exchange for bribes. The scandal, which has garnered significant attention, has raised concerns about illegal migration into Europe, particularly neighbouring Germany.
Reports have emerged indicating that Poland’s consular sections may have issued approximately 250,000 visas to migrants from Asia and Africa since 2021, with bribes amounting to several thousand dollars each. As Poland is a member of the European Union’s visa-free zone known as Schengen, migrants who obtained visas through these illicit means could freely cross Europe’s borders, including those into Germany.
While Poland’s conservative government acknowledges that some wrongdoing has occurred and has taken measures such as arrests and dismissals, they contend that the scale of the issue is not as extensive as portrayed by the Polish media.
To address this matter, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser engaged in a telephone conversation with her Polish counterpart, Mariusz Kaminski, on Tuesday afternoon, The Associated Press (AP) reported. Additionally, Polish Ambassador Dariusz Pawlos was invited to speak with State Secretary Bernd Krösser at the interior ministry in Berlin.
During these discussions, German officials sought information from their Polish counterparts regarding the timing and quantity of visas issued, as well as the nationalities of the visa recipients. The German government emphasised the importance of resolving the serious allegations of possible visa fraud and inquired about the countermeasures being implemented by the Polish government in response to the situation.
It is worth noting that the German federal police had already significantly increased border patrol measures at the German borders, particularly along the German-Polish border, due to the ongoing migration situation. However, these measures were initiated before reports regarding the alleged visa fraud became public and were not directly linked to the scandal.
The unfolding corruption scandal in Poland comes just a month before the country’s parliamentary election scheduled for October 15. The ruling party, Law and Justice, has been grappling with efforts to control the damage stemming from this issue within the domestic political landscape.