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Poland briefs European Commission on cash-for-visas probe

22.09.2023 10:45
Poland has sent a letter to the European Union’s executive Commission, explaining that its investigation into possible irregularities in the granting of work visas to migrants concerns 268 visa applications, “a small fraction” of visas issued by the country.
The headquarters of Polands Foreign Ministry in Warsaw.
The headquarters of Poland's Foreign Ministry in Warsaw.Lukas Plewnia from Berlin, Deutschland, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The letter was written by the Polish foreign ministry, the state news agency PAP reported on Friday. 

In the document, shared with PAP, the ministry noted that during the 18-month investigation, Poland had granted more than 500,000 work visas, of which almost 80 percent for the citizens of Ukraine and Belarus.

Meanwhile, the number of so-called short-term Schengen work visas issued during this period totalled 767, according to officials. 

The probe into irregularities in the visa process concerns 268 applications for work visas to Poland, Brussels was told. 

The Polish foreign ministry also said that prosecutors had so far brought charges against seven persons, none of them state officials. 

The probe focuses on the “exercise of unauthorised influence on consular officials to fast-track selected visa applications,” the ministry added.

There have been allegations that migrants were granted visas in a fast-track procedure without proper checks in exchange for payments to intermediaries, according to news outlets.

Meanwhile, “Polish consuls acted at all times in line with the binding national and EU law,” the letter also said. 

The Polish foreign ministry also stated that the visa applicants in question had been “thoroughly checked by state agencies for potential impact on Poland’s security, especially security in connection with terrorist threats,” and found “to pose no threat to Poland’s security,” the PAP news agency reported.

Moreover, Poland’s anti-corruption officers launched a probe within a day after receiving reports of possible irregularities in the visa process, in July 2022, the Polish foreign ministry told the EU’s executive Commission.

Political accountability has also been exercised, with Poland’s deputy foreign minister in charge of consular policy dismissed last month, the foreign ministry stressed in its letter to Brussels, the PAP news agency reported.

The foreign ministry’s letter comes after the European Commission on Wednesday formally requested explanations from Poland regarding allegations that the country's agencies issued Schengen visas in exchange for bribes, according to news outlets. 


Source: PAP, bankier.pl, Euronews