Germany seeks answers from Poland in visa fraud scandal involving migrants from Asia and Africa

by MMC
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BERLIN (AP) — German government officials held talks Tuesday with their Polish counterparts to ask them to clarify how many visas were issued under an illegal program in which some Polish consulates issued visas in Africa and Asia in exchange for bribes, one official said.

Poland was rocked for weeks by reports that its consular sections have issued around 250,000 visas to migrants from Asia and Africa since 2021 in exchange for bribes of several thousand dollars each. Poland is a member of the EU’s visa-free zone known as Schengen, and once arriving in Poland, these migrants can freely cross Europe’s borders, including to neighboring Germany.

The conservative government in Warsaw confirms that some wrongdoing took place and that authorities carried out arrests and dismissals, but they insist the scale is not as great as Polish media claim .

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser spoke by telephone with her Polish counterpart Mariusz Kaminski on Tuesday afternoon, while Polish Ambassador Dariusz Pawlos was invited to speak with State Secretary Bernd Krösser at the Interior Ministry in Berlin, a government official told The Associated Press.

German officials asked their Polish counterparts to provide information on the timing and number of visas issued as well as the nationality of visa recipients. The German government official said Polish officials had been informed that the German government hoped serious allegations of possible visa fraud would be resolved. German officials also asked what countermeasures the Warsaw government was putting in place.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, also noted that the German federal police had significantly strengthened border policing measures on the German borders, particularly on the German-German border. Polish, due to the current migration situation. . However, the latest increase in border surveillance measures occurred before reports of the alleged visa scam were made public and are not directly linked to it.

Details of the corruption scandal were revealed in Poland a month before parliamentary elections on October 15, leaving the ruling Law and Justice party struggling to control the damage at the national level.

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Vanessa Gera reported from Warsaw, Poland.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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