TORONTO -- A former Somali child refugee has been granted a brief reprieve from a deportation hearing while a judicial review of his case is conducted.

The Immigration and Refugee Board in Toronto delayed Abdoul Abdi's hearing until after Federal Court takes up his case this spring.

Lawyer Benjamin Perryman called Wednesday's decision significant as it allows Abdi to keep working in Canada while he awaits the review of Ottawa's deportation decision.

"He was relieved. Now he has the opportunity to just focus on working," he said in an interview from Halifax, noting that Adbi has found a job in Toronto.

It also frees up the 24-year-old man's legal team to focus on preparing for the Federal Court hearing on May 29.

The application for judicial review, which seeks to challenge the government's deportation decision, hinges on three main arguments, Perryman said.

He argued that the decision was procedurally unfair, ignored relevant factors that should have been considered, and violated international law and the charter, specifically the anti-discrimination provision and the prohibition against cruel and unusual treatment.

Abdi arrived in Canada as a six-year-old refugee, but was never granted Canadian citizenship while growing up in foster care in Nova Scotia.

The Canada Border Services Agency detained him recently after he served five years in prison for multiple offences, including aggravated assault.

A spokesman for the Office of the Minister of Public Safety said in an email that he would not comment on matters before the courts.

Perryman said Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has the authority to halt the government's attempts to deport Abdi, but has refused to do so.

"There is still plenty of opportunity for the minister of public safety to change course on this file," he said.

Abdi, who was born in Saudi Arabia in 1993, lost his mother in a refugee camp when he was four and came to Canada with his sister and aunts two years later. He was taken into provincial care shortly after arriving in Canada.

He was moved 31 times between foster homes. He lost his native language and developed behavioural problems that advocates say were not adequately treated. Those issues led to problems with the justice system and his non-citizenship put him at risk of deportation.

Abdi's case has prompted supporters to call on the Nova Scotia government to intervene on his behalf, and sparked protests at events with federal leaders including a recent town hall with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Lower Sackville, N.S.