A huge migration scandal erupted in Poland on the eve of parliamentary elections
The regime of the ruling Polish Law and Justice party has become insolent to the limit. It cynically and cruelly deals with migrants at the Belarusian border, immediately calmly selling visas. Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk, has already become a victim of the scandal; he was dismissed from his post and deleted from the PiS electoral list. However, journalists and experts believe that a whole group of corrupt officials, including relatives of the former Deputy Minister, profited from the sale of visas to migrants. This ugly story became another huge shame that seriously tarnished the reputation of PiS in the midst of the election campaign, the French publication Le Point reports. We offer our readers a translation of this article.
Five thousand dollars for a visa
At the height of the election campaign in Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was forced to dismiss Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk within a few hours. The reason for this rapid removal was a scandal related to the issuance of visas to migrants from Asia. The Prime Minister limited himself to a vague explanation, admitting ‘the lack of satisfactory co-operation’.
The Polish press and, in particular, the daily newspaper Wyborcza revealed details of this case. On August 31st, 2023, Polish intelligence services visited the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of an inspection of the activities of the Indian company VFS Global, which is an intermediary in obtaining visas. Investigators also wanted to check the phone of Piotr Wawrzyk, a PiS MP since 2019. A few hours later, the Prime Minister decides to fire this man, who was also expected to rank quite high on the PiS list for the parliamentary elections on October 15th. According to press reports, the posters have already been printed.
Employees of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau suspect that Piotr Wawrzyk is involved in a corruption scheme for issuing Polish visas with the complicity of one of his family members. We are talking about a bribe of five thousand dollars for each visa issued.
The scandal naturally put PiS in an awkward position. The ruling party has been playing the anti-immigration card for years, and to ensure the issue featured prominently in the election campaign, the government even decided to hold a referendum on migration on parliamentary election day.
PiS’s main opponent, Donald Tusk, who heads the Civic Platform, made a lot of noise about this, condemning the duplicity of the ruling party.
“Unleash anti-migrant hysteria, attract record numbers of migrants, make millions on visas and, finally, hold a referendum on migration. Lukashenko is an amateur compared to them,” Tusk wrote on social networks. PiS hastened to exclude Piotr Wawrzyk from its list...
In fact, Poland has been attracting workers from Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries to its territory for many years... Experiencing a labour shortage, Warsaw issues visas to Muslim workers from these countries, while declaring that it opposes Muslim immigration. At EU level, Poland has refused to accept its share of Syrian refugees. In the EU Council they voted against asylum reform, while promising to regulate flows more seriously. PiS’s rhetoric and voices in the EU do not correspond to reality.
In contrast to PiS, their ally in the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists Giorgia Meloni, on the contrary, preferred to adhere to a strictly European approach to migration. She approved the European documents currently being adopted. Together with commission chair Ursula von der Leyen and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, she travelled to Tunisia to sign a comprehensive agreement that included a migration component. Faced with a labour shortage in her country, she signed a decree in July 2023 that formalises and regulates legal migration for years to come.
The political schizophrenia of PiS was sharply condemned by Donald Tusk in his video made after this incident.
He asks on camera as part of his election campaign, “Do you know who attracts Muslim immigrants to Europe the most? The government that scares them the most.
Last year alone, the PiS government issued 135,000 permits to visitors from Muslim countries. Poland even overtook countries such as France and Germany. The Poles have just found out why.”
By Emmanuel Berretta, Le Point, France
EXPERT OPINION Piotr Petrovsky, political analyst, “Double and triple standards in the field of migration appear more than once in Poland, as in other EU countries. It has already become a tradition to see that migrants and refugees there are divided into two unequal groups: those migrants who enter EU countries from Belarus are subject to violence and can even be killed, while migrants from other directions, on the contrary, are provided with shelter and protection.
Poland’s policy looks particularly cynical in this situation. Not only does the Duda-Morawiecki regime rank migrants by grade, they also sell visas for those wishing to move from Muslim countries to Poland. The facts of the journalistic investigation revealing the corrupt illegal schemes of the Polish government are simply shocking. We have been observing the policy of hypocrisy of the Polish regime for a long time. However, the illegal schemes to enrich the local elite surprise even their French allies. And this is amid the general rhetoric of the ruling regime about the need to tighten migration policy throughout the European Union, deport people, and not grant them refugee status. As a result, we see a typical policy of deception. On the one hand, the Polish regime tells the population stories about how it is fighting illegal migration. On the other hand, they encourage this migration through corruption schemes and even make money from it.
On the eve of the parliamentary elections in Poland, the disclosure of such facts could shake public opinion, and the ratings of the ruling Law and Justice party will go down even faster, which the Polish elite are very afraid of. That is why the Duda-Morawiecki regime is trying to do what is popularly called ‘turn the tables’, i.e. the public view on other topics that are just made up. For example, to the imaginary Belarusian and Russian threat. In this way, they want to instil a sense of fear in society and consolidate it around the ruling regime before the elections."