Visa affair in Poland: Opposition accuses PiS government of hypocrisy

Visa affair in Poland: Opposition accuses PiS government of hypocrisy

The national-conservative government in Poland actually promotes an extreme anti-immigration stance. Now the public prosecutor’s office is investigating the illegal sale of work visas – and is putting the PiS in a lot of trouble before the parliamentary elections.

In Poland, the public prosecutor’s office is investigating seven people on suspicion that they expedited the issuance of work visas in exchange for payment. Three of the suspects had been arrested, said the deputy head of the Organized Crime and Corruption Department, Daniel Lerman, in Warsaw on Thursday. Irregularities in the issuance of several hundred work visas in several Arab countries as well as in India, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan are being investigated.

Reports from the Polish media and information from the opposition, on the other hand, indicate a much larger scale. Within 30 months, 250,000 Polish work visas were issued in Africa and Asia, said opposition leader Donald Tusk from the liberal-conservative Civic Platform (PO) on Thursday, although without information on where this number came from. Tusk accused the ruling PiS of hypocrisy given its tough stance against EU asylum policy.

Press accuses government of hypocrisy in visa affair

The Polish press also accused the PiS government of acting hypocritically. “The visa affair plunges the PiS into the trap of its own propaganda and lies,” wrote Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s second largest national daily newspaper. The government would defame migrants as threats, Islamic terrorists or rapists. At the same time, the foreign ministry would ask the consulates to issue as many visas as possible for foreign workers.

Gazeta Wyborcza also complained about the treatment of refugees in the country: “It would also have been possible for the refugees from Syria, Kurdistan and Eritrea who came to Poland from Belarus to find modest accommodation and work in Poland. However, they paid bribes to the false intermediary and ended up in the swamps of the border area, wandering around in the forests and becoming victims of the violence of Polish border guards.”

Poland’s deputy foreign minister already dismissed

At the end of August, the deputy foreign minister responsible for consular affairs, Piotr Wawrzyk, was dismissed. At the same time, his department was raided by the anti-corruption agency CBA.

According to reports from the Onet portal and the daily Gazeta Wyborcza, Wawrzyk is said to have been the mastermind behind a system in which intermediary companies offered Polish visas for large sums of money. Migrants from Asia and Africa often continued to travel in the Schengen area on the basis of their Polish visa – for example to Germany. Multiple-entry visas were particularly popular. Anyone who has a multiple-entry visa for the Schengen area is also allowed to enter Mexico – and can thus get to the USA. According to the information, people in India are said to have paid up to $40,000 to intermediaries in order to obtain a Polish multiple-entry visa.

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Before the parliamentary elections on October 15th, the issue of visa issuance is putting the PiS under pressure. The PiS government opposes the EU asylum compromise, which provides for the mandatory admission of refugees. Warsaw wants to hold a referendum on the issue parallel to the parliamentary election. The outcome of the referendum has no influence on the decision-making process within the EU.

Source: Stern

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