Germany has summoned the Polish ambassador and asked for clarification from the Polish government over an alleged visa fraud scandal involving migrants from Asia and Africa. The scandal, which was exposed by Polish media earlier this month, claims that some Polish consulates issued about 250,000 visas to migrants since 2021 in exchange for bribes of several thousand dollars each. Poland is a member of the EU’s visa-free Schengen zone, which means that the migrants could travel freely across Europe, including into Germany.
The German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser spoke by phone with her Polish counterpart Mariusz Kaminski on Tuesday, while the Polish Ambassador Dariusz Pawlos was invited to speak to State Secretary Bernd Krösser at the interior ministry in Berlin, according to a German government official. The German officials asked their Polish counterparts to provide information on the timing and number of visas issued as well as the nationalities of the visa recipients. They also demanded that the serious allegations of possible visa fraud be resolved and that countermeasures be taken by the Warsaw government.
The Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau has dismissed the scandal as “fake news”, insisting that only around 200 documents were issued with any “irregularities”. However, some arrests and dismissals have been made in connection with the case, and one former deputy minister of foreign affairs, Piotr Wawrzyk, was hospitalized after attempting to commit suicide last week.
The controversy has erupted one month ahead of parliamentary elections in Poland, where the ruling PiS party has positioned itself as being tough on migration. The government also plans to hold a referendum on immigration and border security, in which citizens will be asked whether they support accepting “thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa” as part of an EU relocation plan.