Opposition politicians seek answers on Muslim migrants

On Wednesday, KO MPs Marcin Kierwiński (L) and Jan Grabiec (R) arrived at the foreign ministry to carry out a parliamentary inspection. Rafał Guz/PAP

Parliamentarians from Poland's main opposition grouping, the Civic Coalition (KO), have visited the foreign ministry to gather information on visas issued to Muslim migrants after a deputy foreign minister was fired following an investigation by an anti-corruption agency.

The Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper on Wednesday reported that Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs might have allowed hundreds of thousands of migrants to come to Europe.

The daily wrote that it was Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk who had been responsible for consular matters and visas at the ministry. It added that it was also Wawrzyk who had been the author of a draft regulation concerning visa facilitation for temporary workers from about 20 countries, including Islamic countries. The directive assumed "the possibility of employing up to 400,000 workers in Poland," said the newspaper.

It added that "according to unofficial information, a picture of a corruption scandal was emerging, one that enabled the influx of tens of thousands of immigrants to Europe through international recruitment companies." The newspaper indicated that it may have been the recruiters who "were behind the draft regulation of Minister Wawrzyk." The text added that in 2022, about 200,000 migrants came to Poland of whom 130,000 were from Muslim countries.

"This may concern a huge corruption scandal as a result of which hundreds of thousands of immigrants poured into Europe," the newspaper wrote.

On Sunday Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, commenting on Wawrzyk's dismissal said that the reason was "lack of satisfactory cooperation". He admitted he was aware of an inquiry by the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) and said it was also a reason for the firing.

Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński commented that "the matter is being investigated by the proper institutions."

On Wednesday, KO MPs Marcin Kierwiński and Jan Grabiec arrived at the foreign ministry to carry out a parliamentary inspection.

"It turns out that there is a high probability that we are dealing with corruption, here in this ministry, corruption at the highest levels," said Kierwiński.

"PiS (governing party Law and Justice - PAP) politicians have been scaring Poles with illegal migration for many years, but it turns out that, in this matter, they have a lot on their conscience,” added the MP.

"We know that almost 135,000 work permits were issued just in 2022," said Kierwiński. "We wanted to obtain data on how many of these permits were actually used, but then we were not given this data... It turns out that corruption may be lurking in the background, hence the dismissal of Deputy Minister Wawrzyk."

Jan Grabiec said that "the CBA is supposedly examining the incident."

"But we know that the main purpose of this bureau, as it has been for the last eight years, is to hide evidence, not to clear up scandals and crimes," he said.

"We are concerned that data concerning the true influx of immigrants to Poland will be kept secret by the CBA," he noted.

The allegations may prove to be a huge blow to PiS just weeks before the October 15 general election as the party has made its anti-migration stance one of its key election campaign themes. To bolster this, PiS has also pushed through its idea to hold a referendum on migration alongside the parliamentary ballot.

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