Posted on September 15, 2023

A Cash-for Visas Scandal Hits Poland’s Strongly Anti-Migration Government

Monika Scislowska, Associated Press, September 14, 2023

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said Thursday he was awaiting the results of an investigation into allegations that Polish consulates sold temporary work visas to migrants for thousands of dollars, just weeks before the strongly anti-migration ruling party seeks re-election for a third term.

Media reports allege Poland’s consular sections issued some 250,000 visas to migrants from Asia and Africa since 2021 in return for bribes.


The deputy foreign minister in charge of consular matters, Piotr Wawrzyk, was unexpectedly fired last month as the first reports of the scandal appeared in the media.

Prosecutors and the state Anti-Corruption Office said Thursday that seven people — none of them state officials — had been detained on suspicion of corruption in the process of issuing a few hundred temporary work visas. They said the investigation began in July 2022 and was ongoing.

Poland’s main opposition leader, Donald Tusk, called it “probably the biggest scandal in Poland in the 21st century.”


The allegations could seriously hit the conservative ruling party ahead of next month’s parliamentary elections. Law and Justice, which has put opposition to migration at the center of its policies, wants to win an unprecedented third term in power in the Oct. 15 vote.