Mr. Speaker, following the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan last summer, the government initially committed to resettling 20,000 vulnerable Afghan refugees, and we have now increased that commitment to bringing at least 40,000 Afghans to Canada.
On July 23, 2001, the Government of Canada announced special immigration measures for individuals with a significant and enduring relationship with the Government of Canada, along with their accompanying family members. On August 13, we announced a special humanitarian program focused on resettling Afghan nationals who were outside of Afghanistan and who do not have a durable solution in a third country.
This program focuses on women leaders, human rights defenders, LGBTQ2 individuals, journalists and people who assisted Canadian journalists. We have also created a permanent resident pathway for extended family members of former Afghan interpreters who previously immigrated to Canada under the 2009 and 2012 public policies.
IRCC has mobilized its global network and all available resources are being devoted to this effort. IRCC also prioritized the processing of privately sponsored Afghan refugees. The department is harnessing the generosity of Canadians, including through sponsorship agreement holders, as well as individuals and corporate donations to private sponsorship.
Today, we marked an important milestone by welcoming more than 15,000 Afghan refugees to Canada, and hundreds more are arriving each week, including 300 privately sponsored refugees arriving on a chartered flight tomorrow.
I also think it is important to put Canada's commitment to Afghans in a global context. Per capita, our goal of bringing at least 40,000 Afghan nationals to Canada places us among the top countries in the world when it comes to resettlement, second only to the United States on numbers alone. In terms of broad numbers, our commitment of 40,000 is larger than the United Kingdom and Australia, and the same as the one being pursued by a European nation that has 10 times the population of Canada.
We remain firm in our commitment to settle at least 40,000 Afghan nationals in safety to Canada as quickly and safely as possible. We will not stop until the work is done.