But for those it does apply to, it is a lifesaver.
If your non-Canadian partner is living in Canada but does not have status, you can now apply for them, inside Canada, for permanent residence.
And if you have applied for permanent residence, but your status has expired (e.g. because you overstayed a visitor visa) you are not disqualified from getting permanent residence.
In plain English:
It used to be the case that, in order to apply inside Canada, a person had to be "in status" (usually as a visitor) both at the time they submitted the application and at the time the application was processed.
You can apply if you are in Canada and lack status, for example if you
- have overstayed your visa, visitor record, work permit or student permit; or
-you have worked or studied in Canada without a work or study permit; or
- you have entered Canada without a required visa; or
-you entered Canada without a valid passport or travel document
If you entered without a valid passport, you can apply for PR, but you must have a valid passport by the time the PR application is processed.
So, for you couples who have been hiding in the shadows because of fear of Immigration, you no longer have to hide.
NOTE this policy applies ONLY if one partner is a Canadian. You have to fulfill all the other requirements - ie be married or have lived for a year as common law partners.
You can get more information from LEGIT, the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Task Force. They meet monthly; call Qmunity for information.